Celtic Dragons Vs Team Bath
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Robinson and Varey confirmed!

Rising star Abi Robson and experienced international Amanda Varey are the two latest players to be confirmed in the Team Bath Netball squad for the 2019 Vitality Superleague season.

Nineteen-year-old Robson, a Geography student at the University of the West of England in Bristol, made her Superleague debut last season and plays at both wing-defence and centre.

She has international age-group experience with England, helping both the U17 and U21 teams to victory in Netball Europe competitions and touring New Zealand with the Roses at U19 level.

“I learnt so much during my first season and I’m looking forward to gaining more opportunities in the year ahead. It is a great squad to be part of, everyone gets on so well, and it is an incredible training environment.”

Varey – who played for Wales at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – is returning for her fourth spell with Team Bath having previously won the Superleague title in Blue & Gold in 2010 and 2013.

The wing-attack spent last season with Celtic Dragons but continued to do some of her training at the University of Bath and is thrilled to be back in the colours she first represented 12 years ago while combining netball with studying Pharmacy.

“I feel incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to be back in the Blue & Gold dress this season,” said Varey, who is now Lead Critical Care Pharmacist at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath.

Jess Thirlby, Head Netball Coach for Team Bath, added: “Abi is one of our bright young talents and has been improving year on year for the last few seasons. She has a great attitude to learning, a great work ethic and she leads by example.

“Abi is a determined defender who applies herself to any challenge thrown at her. She is a great role model for all those athletes in our Academy and beyond, and has a bright future with this team.

“We are so pleased to welcome Amanda back after spending time with Celtic Dragons to support her national squad aspirations with Wales, which we are very proud of. She is one of the longest serving and most loyal Team Bath players of all time.

See Team Bath in action at Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!

You can view all Team Bath home games and ticket information at netball.teambath.com/tickets

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Sara Bayman: “We will now look ahead”

Loughborough Lightning showcased their new look team for the first time on Saturday in the first of their pre-season tournaments.

Eager to put their new combinations to the test, Lightning welcomed fellow Vitality Netball Superleague sides Team Bath and Strathclyde Sirens to Loughborough University for a tournament style fixture.

At the helm for the first time in their home venue, Head Coach Sara Bayman used each quarter as an opportunity to test combination and give all players crucial game time.

She said: “The aim of today was always to expose players, to work on combinations and to test some players out.

“I think we did that, we managed to get everyone on court, giving them some good court time and managed to get some different combinations out there and really have a look at people.”

Despite losing both their matches, Bayman cited the difference between the two matches as promising and encouraging.

She said: “I think there’s a mixed bag from today, everyone was really disappointed with our performance against Sirens and I think you saw a bit of rustiness from the girls as it’s a long time between finishing the Vitality Netball Superleague and playing again at this level.

“We had a much-improved performance against Bath and I think that’s a real indication of what we can really do moving forward.

“I think for me what was pleasing to see the reaction from game one to game two where the girls were really down after game one but that fight and spirit to come out and play really well against Bath was really pleasing.”

In the absence of Nat Panagarry due to international duties, Lightning were led by Hannah Joseph who makes up this year’s leadership group, alongside Vicki Oyesola who’s performance on the day really set the standard of what’s to come.

Bayman said: “In terms of standout performances, I think Vicki Oyesola had a fantastic day across both games and Hannah Joseph did a great job leading the team.

“Our shooting combinations are now starting to gel, they’re starting to find their way around the circle show us what they can do.”

Next weekend Lightning will travel to Manchester Thunder in their next pre-season fixture.

Drawing from the day’s events, Bayman is now planning for the forthcoming month, she said: “We will now look ahead to our away game against Thunder on Saturday which is another good test for us and another opportunity to improve and build.

“Over the next month or so it’s about every day improving and making sure we know our systems and know how we want to play and that everyone is clear and understands their role in all situations.

“It will be really nice to have Nat and Ella back from international duty and have some opportunity to get them back in the mix and enjoy working as a whole squad to build connections and build understanding.”

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!

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Team Bath secure tri-tournament victory

Team Bath Netball made an encouraging start to their pre-season fixtures as they recorded two well-earned victories in a tri-tournament hosted by Loughborough Lightning on Saturday. All 14 players in the Blue & Gold squad got court time as they stepped up their preparations for the 2019 Vitality Superleague campaign, which begins in January.

After a minute silence on court to honour the Remembrance weekend, Lightning and Strathclyde Sirens took to the court to kick start the proceedings, all donning a black armband in respect of the fallen. A 400-strong crowd of fans eagerly joined the squads in Sir David Wallace Arena.

A fairly even start to the match saw both sides convert their centre passes levelling the scores at every opportunity. Despite an increasingly dominant defensive duo, Clinton remained calm in the shooting circle, using her long range to Lightning’s advantage to smoothly sink the shots. However, Sirens’ new addition Cat Tuivaiti was also out to impress for her new side and matched the shots, Sirens eventually pulling ahead towards the end of the quarter, finishing it 11 – 6 ahead of the home side. Whilst both sides continued to up the speed and increase the pressure, Sirens maintained a solid lead throughout the game. Lightning’s Oyesola showed no signs of slowing, changing it up a gear at each quarter to continuously disrupt Sirens flow and gain Lightning an advantage. Despite their best efforts, Sirens ended the match on top, claiming a 28 – 51 victory over the home side.

Match number two of the day saw Strathclyde Sirens take to the court just an hour later against Team Bath. With both sides boasting big names in their 2019 line-ups with the likes of Commonwealth gold medallists Serena Guthrie in the Blue and Gold and New Zealand’s Cat Tuivaiti in the black and red, fans were eager to see how the two sides matched up. A feisty start saw Sirens once again take the early lead however a ferocious Team Bath were not going to lay this match to rest, coming from behind in the second half to steal the win from the Scottish side in the final minutes of the game, final score Team Bath 39 – 33 Strathclyde Sirens.

The final match of the day saw Lightning return to court, refreshed and eager to right the wrongs from earlier in the day. With the arrival of Tuaine Keenan, Lightning’s fresh legs and determination saw them spring ahead in the opening minutes to take a 5 – 0 lead. Despite numerous changes at each quarter, lightning maintained their lead for most of the game with Hollingworth and Oyesola causing constant disruption to Baths attack whilst the smooth long bombs from Parize and Clinton saw their score line slowly creep up. Trailing by just a few points for the first 30 minutes, Team Bath made a last-minute surge in the final quarter to close the gap and level the score. However, with the on-court dominance of Bath’s international stars playing privy to lightning’s fresh feet, two goals in the dying moments of the game saw Bath take their second win of the day to secure the overall tri-tournament victory.

Team Bath face two more pre-season challenges this Saturday (November 17) as they visit champions Wasps Netball for a tri-tournament also featuring new franchise London Pulse. The Blue & Gold then have a tri-tournament of their own to look forward to on Saturday, December 15 as they play host to benecosMavericks and Surrey Storm. Doors open at 1pm and supporters will be able to enjoy three games in one action-packed afternoon at the Team Bath Arena.

Next weekend Lightning will travel to Manchester Thunder in their next pre-season fixture. Lightning fans can then catch their side in action on home soil again on Saturday 8th December as they welcome new side London Pulse and benecosMavericks to Sir David Wallace Arena for their second pre-season tri-tournament.

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!

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Beryl Friday fulfils England ambition

Versatile Australian attacker Beryl Friday says she has fulfilled a long-term ambition after joining Team Bath Netball for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season.

The 24-year-old made her first appearance in Blue & Gold during the British Fast5 All-Stars Championships recently, impressing with her composure and energy in attack.

Now Friday – a former ANZ champion with Queensland Firebirds – will bring those talents to Team Bath’s Vitality Netball Superleague squad for the new season and is looking forward to experiencing life in England.

“I am really excited to be a part of Team Bath,” said Friday, who can play wing-attack, goal-attack and goal-shooter. “I understand that the team has a great culture and I am hoping I can positively contribute to the club.

“I’m not a flashy player but I like to think I am consistent, am happy to put up a high volume of shots and will give 100 per cent in every game, week in week out.

“Playing in England is something I have been planning on doing since I was a teenager. I have even refused to travel to Europe before because I knew I would live here eventually, so I am stoked it has actually happened. I feel this is a real tick to my bucket list.”

Friday has been learning more about her new home country from returning Blue & Gold star Serena Guthrie, the duo having become firm friends while training together with GIANTS Netball in Sydney during the past couple of years.

“I knew that David Beckham and the Spice Girls are from England and people drink a lot of tea here!” said Friday, who was a training partner with GIANTS’ Suncorp Super Netball squad and played for their Canberra sister club in the Australian National League (ANL).

“I’ve asked Serena a lot about England and she has been a great help, I am very lucky to have her patiently help me. She has cemented what I thought the club was about and how hard everyone works.

“I was sad when I heard Serena was leaving Sydney. I thought ‘wow, I just met this really cool person and I don’t know if I’ll see her again’, so it’s quite funny that I’m going to be with her in Bath.

“I feel Serena has improved immensely during her time in Australia, her consistent defence and circle feeds in particular, and I am looking forward to being on the receiving end of some of those passes.”

Guthrie is delighted that Friday will be joining her in Blue & Gold in 2019, saying: “I’ve got to know Beryl from being in the GIANTS netball set-up and I’m excited to see what she can bring at Vitality Netball Superleague level.

“Her elusiveness and cool head will bring an element of composure to our attack end which will be key in pressure games.”

Jess Thirlby, Team Bath Netball Head Coach, added: “Beryl has been a welcome addition to the team and has fitted in seamlessly already. She has a great character and brings energy to the group, while calmly going about her work on court.

“Beryl is an all-round attacker with lots of versatility and her ability and experience of playing both WA and GA at the highest level overseas will really add value to this team.

“It was great to see her make her mark so soon at the Fast5 All-Stars we are excited to work more with her over the next couple of months. I’m confident that Beryl will have a positive impact on the team and am excited to see her relationships with her team-mates develop and grow.”

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!