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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  during the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final between Loughborough Lightning and Wasps at Copper Box Arena on July 7, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Umpires Appointed to 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague

England Netball is delighted to confirm the final group of umpires who will officiate in the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague.

The final squad was selected based on match assessment data from England Netball leagues and competitions, and on international matches.

All umpires selected will now take part in a performance camp in early January which will provide them with an opportunity to upskill on a number of topics.

Returning for her ninth season, four-time Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final umpire Jackie Mizon said: “I’m excited for the challenge that umpiring in this league brings, especially in a World Cup year.

“Teams have consolidated and grown to make the league stronger than ever and I’m very proud to continue being actively involved.”

Commenting on his re-inclusion in the squad, Chris Molloy said: “I am delighted to be back in the squad after a year away.

“I came out of the league after the 2017 season as I couldn’t commit the time required due to a number of responsibilities in my life away from netball.

“I knew I needed to fall back in love with the sport and umpiring so I went back to where it all began, my local regional league.

“I was back in my comfort zone and my only focus was to get back out there and enjoy my umpiring again.

“Previously I was focused on what everyone else was doing and not my own performances and development.

“I think this approach puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on you as an individual.

“I started enjoying it again with the sole focus on what I could do to get back on track not worrying about others.

“That obviously showed as I was identified again at the NPL tournament in the summer with the assessors commenting that it was the best they had seen me umpire.

“I was never focused on the Vitality Netball Superleague just doing the best for me so being selected was an added bonus!”

Returning to the Vitality Netball Superleague following maternity leave, Natalie Gregan said: “After having two seasons out of the Vitality Netball Superleague because of my pregnancy, I am delighted to have been included as part of this year’s squad of umpires.

“I have been in constant communication with my umpiring mentor throughout my maternity to ensure that I was prepared to take to the court again and am up to date with how the game has changed.

“I cannot wait to get started and be back doing what I am passionate about.

“I am so grateful to my family for the support they give me to allow me to do everything that I love – I could not do it without them.

“Bring on VNSL 2019, I want to show my little boy just what his mummy can do!”

One of the newest additions to the group, Sarah Drake from Yorkshire, commented: “My aim was to make the longlist for the 2019 VNSL squad so this is a massive bonus.

“I’ve worked really hard and put in the hours with my mentors in Yorkshire and I’m proud to have got to this level so soon.”

The Vitality Netball Superleague will run concurrently with the U21 and U19 leagues which will provide a better opportunity for an interchange of umpires between these competitions.

Vitality Netball Superleague Assessors will be on hand to provide support and feedback to all umpires to ensure a consistently high standard of performance with a focus on developing the next generation of umpires.

The new season begins with Super 10 at the Arena Birmingham on the 5th January 2019 – get tickets to see all 10 teams go head-to-head!

Alison Harrison IUA Wales
Chris Molloy WM
Chris Obin S
Gary Burgess IUA E
Ian Fuller IUA WM
Jackie Mizon IUA E
James Thomas ITID SW
Jemma Cook IUA Australia
Jenny Fissenden L&SE
Joanne Lilly ITID Scotland
Julie Wilks S
Kate Mann EM
Kate Stephenson IUA EM
Louise Travis IUA E
Natalie Gregan NW
Rachael Radford Y&H
Rhian Edwards Wales
Sarah Drake Y&H
Stuart McErlain Naylor EM


All appointments are made pending submission of the required fitness scores (9.1 Multi-stage Fitness Test or 15.1 Yoyo Intermittent Recovery Test).


Thunder beat Lightning in pre-season clash

Manchester Thunder launched their new season with two convincing victories over the Knights Men 85-69 and Loughborough Lightning 64-52.

The Knights Men, a team who regularly play a friendlies against Superleague and Premier League teams, offer a different dynamic of opposition and a good physical test. Thunder’s shooters Joyce Mvula and Eleanor Cardwell stood up to the test and alongside Kathryn Turner they kept the scoreboard ticking over at a good rate.

Captain Emma Dovey had a particularly feisty contest in the defensive circle and led the way for Thunder’s first victory of the day. After the game the Thunder fans flocked onto the court for a meet and greet opportunity with the players, who signed everything from netballs to t-shirts while engaging with their loyal fans.

Next in line were Loughborough Lightning, last season’s beaten finalists, but now with a new look team and former Thunder favourite Sara Bayman at the helm. Shooter Amy Clinton has also made the switch to the purple and white as a replacement for the Australia-bound Peace Proscovia.

It was a lightning start for Loughborough who stormed to an early three goal lead as it took Thunder a while to settle. It wasn’t long before Kathryn Turner’s calming influence took effect and she combined well with the impressive looking Liana Leota and Mvula to set the scoreboard ticking over. Thunder took the first quarter 15-9.

For the second quarter coach Karen Greig introduced the returning Eleanor Cardwell who was impressive with her strength and movement in the circle. Thunder debutant Amelia Hall made her bow at wing attack and looks a great acquisition for the future with a solid display. Amy Clinton made a difference for Lightning and started slotting the goals away for Lightning as they closed the gap to go in 29-25 at half time.

Another youngster and pathway product, Elia McCormick, made her debut coming on at goal defence in the third quarter. Thunder produced another good scoring quarter showing the changes were not having an impact on consistency. Thunder once again extended their lead finishing the third quarter eight goals in the lead 46-38.

The final quarter saw the debut of former Lightning defender Rebekah Airey as both teams consolidated  to take the final score to 64-52 in the favour of Thunder.

The new season will certainly present Greig with a selection headache, with competition for places all over the court, but what a problem to have. Thunder looked impressive and the foundations of combinations look incredibly strong. With record season ticket sales, it is certainly looking like Thunder fans will be in for an entertaining season of high quality netball and no doubt more fans will be snapping them up after today’s displays.

Greig commented: “It was great to get out on court for our first competitive games giving me the opportunity to see where the players are at and work on the different combinations. Thanks to both the Knights Men and Lightning for giving us tough competition on the day. It was great to be back in action in front of the noisy Thunder fans.”

Squad: Joyce Mvula, Eleanor Cardwell, Kathryn Turner, Ally Thomas, Liana Leota, Amelia Hall, Beccy Hoult, Caroline O’Hanlon, Amy Carter, Laura Malcolm, Rebekah Airey, Emma Dovey, Kerry Almond, Elia McCormick

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


Clarke appointed NWC2019 ambassador

England Commonwealth gold medallist and long-standing netball star, Jade Clarke has been appointed as an ambassador for next year’s Netball World Cup.

Clarke was first selected for the Vitality Roses in 2002 and made her senior debut in 2003 playing against New Zealand.

During her career she has competed at four Netball World Cups and four Commonwealth Games.

Clarke also plays her domestic netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague, and recently re-joined Wasps Netball for the 2019 season.

A momentous year for the mid-courter, Clarke won her 150th cap in the final of the Commonwealth Games in Australia this April and is the most-capped England player of all time.

Speaking on her appointment as NWC2019 ambassador, Clarke said: “I’m thrilled to be named as an ambassador for the World Cup next year.

“I’ve had a long history with the Roses, and after the amazing experience at the Gold Coast earlier this year, it’s so exciting to be playing on home turf.”

Lindsay Impett, NWC2019 Event Director, added: “Jade is a fantastic ambassador for the Netball World Cup 2019, and for the sport itself.

“As the most-capped player in the Roses, Jade is a brilliant role model for netball fans and an example of where the sport can take you. I’m delighted to have her on board.”

Clarke has already begun her ambassadorial duties, as judge of the NWC2019 mascot competition.

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


Wasps’ Mansfield: “They did themselves proud”

Wasps Netball secured a clean sweep in a pre-season Tri Tournament as they continue their preparations for the upcoming Vitality Netball Superleague campaign.

It marked the first time Mel Mansfield had led her team as Head Coach at the Ricoh Arena, overcoming London Pulse and Team Bath in a packed afternoon of netball.

The tournament saw the debut of new side London Pulse, with the new season getting underway in January 2019.

Mansfield was particularly impressed with the performance of her young players in their first appearance at the Ricoh.

“It was really good run out for us. I was particularly pleased with how we performed against Bath – we really stepped it up a gear,” said Mansfield.

“We were able to get some of our young players some good court time too, which is great experience for them. They did themselves proud against strong opposition.

“Defensively we were just brilliant, but this is by no means the finished product yet. It was good to be able to work out what our priorities need to be before our first fixture in January.

“Fran Williams played at Wing Defence, which was new for her, but I think she did really well. She is turning into an important, senior player for us.

“It was good to be back out at the Ricoh Arena too. The atmosphere was great and was the perfect opportunity for our new signings to get a taste of what playing in front of our home crowd is like.”

Wasps started the afternoon with their encounter against London Pulse.

The black-and-gold’s enjoyed a fast start, rushing out to an early three goal advantage and securing a six goal lead by the end of the first quarter.

A duo of flying intercepts, from Hannah Knights and Amy Flanagan, set the tone for the second quarter, as Wasps built a double-digit lead.

Mansfield’s side continued to shine in the second half, building a big lead to run out eventual 41-26 winners.

In the afternoon’s second fixture, Team Bath met London Pulse. Pulse again struggled to get into their rhythm as Bath took the lead early.

By half-time the game was all but decided, with Bath leading 27-13. The impressive display from Bath continued in the final two quarters, winning 44-29.

The final game of the afternoon saw a rematch of last season’s Vitality Netball Superleague semi-final with Wasps against Team Bath.

Bath took the lead early, but were pegged back by sharpshooter Rachel Dunn. It was end-to-end throughout the first quarter, with Wasps edging it 9-6.

The visitors fought back and by half-time had reduced the deficit to just one goal. Wasps took control after the break, with two quick-fire goals giving them the momentum.

The home side had built a ten goal lead mid-way through the final quarter. Bath attempted to mount a comeback, but the home side stood strong, winning 36-28.

Wasps Netball season tickets are now general sale for the Vitality Netball Superleague 2019 season. To find out more visit https://www.waspsnetball.co.uk/season-membership

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!