Welsh defender, Nia Jones, says her decision to remain with Severn Stars was a “no brainer” after signing for a second season.
Jones, who will take on the role of Vice Captain, said: “I’m buzzing about another season with Stars. I loved every minute of last year’s campaign despite it working out as a ratio of about 10 training sessions for every one match played. The environment was really professional yet fun and I’m excited to pick up where we left off.”
Defender Jones has 36 caps for Wales and has been playing for the Welsh youth teams since she was 15. She helped Wales to Senior Netball Europe Gold in 2013 and represented her country at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. The 28-year-old, who lives in Cardiff, works part-time as a sports coach at a local school.
“It was a no brainer for me to return,” she said. “I felt that management and our teammates really valued and respected what I could bring to a team, on court and off it. Training is always challenging yet rewarding, and not having that week-in week-out has made me really, really miss it.
The Superleague was curtailed by Covid-19 just four matches in for Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, and just days after a 59-54 win against Wasps.
“Considering we were a newly assembled team last year, looking back it’s really cool how quickly we got to know each other and saw progress,” said Jones. “It takes time to flow as a group on court but we showed that we have the skill, ambition and direction to achieve big things in this league in our final match against Wasps. If it can work against the best then it should work against the rest.
“We want to win it. On their day, anybody can beat anyone in this league so we want to go all the way to the Grand Final.”
Stars Head Coach Melissa Bessell said: “I am very lucky that Nia has moved from Wales to work with me again for a second season with Stars. The only way I can describe Nia is one positive hurricane, relentless, passionate and fierce, severe and dangerous, but with every storm comes a beautiful rainbow. This gives a true picture of how she plays on court and I love it.”
Jones joins a Stars line-up which includes New Zealand star and captain Liana Leota, fellow Welsh internationals Bethan Dyke and Georgia Rowe, Paige Reed, Lucy Harris, Lucy Herdman, Jane Taylor and Jamaican international Malysha Kelly.