Severn Stars netball club has announced its final squads at Under 21 and Under 19 level for the 2017/18 season.
More than 80 young netballers ranging in age from 15 to 20 applied, with just 30 making it through to the final squads. The Severn Stars is a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire.
The Under 21 squad includes University of Worcester student Emma Johnson, 19, and University of Gloucestershire students Laura Dixon, 20, Ella Powell–Davies, 19, Shona O’Dwyer, 19, Eve Wright, 19, and Sarah Angell, 19.
They will play alongside England Under 17 star Beth Gabriel, age 16, as well as Alice Gallienne, 20, Clemmie Roast, 16, Tia Meddick, 18, Anna Lebe, 18, Katie White, 17, Morganne Dunn, 19, Brooke Vivian, 18, and Jane Taylor, 17.
Under 19 squad players are Thalia Letori, 16, Olivia Jones, 17, Katie Cruickshank, 16, Harriet Sanderson, 15, Martha Scott, 17, Isabella Robinson, 17, Chloe Carchrie, 16, Abbie Le Marquand, 16, Scarlett Smith, 18, Darcey Scott, 16, Bella Crampton, 16, Alex Baird, 16, Darcey Dunn, 16, Jane Taylor, 17, and Imogen Falconbridge, 18.
Initial trials were held in September and since then a ‘long squad’ of 34 has been in training. A number of players are returning to the squads who played last year.
The Under 19s will play in the National Performance League and the Under 21s in the Under 21s League.
The squads train twice a week, including one session alongside the professional Stars squad at the University of Worcester Arena.
The Under 21s begin their season on January 27 and the Under 19s on February 3.
Sam Cook, Severn Stars Pathway Head Coach, said the fact that two Severn Stars players, and one who is in the Stars’ training partners squad, are also in the Under 21s squad gave an indication of the strength of the team. She also highlighted the youth of the Under 19 squad, with an average age of 16, as a real positive for such a new side, allowing the players to develop and grow as a team and build for the future.
“We have got strong feeder clubs in the area so it’s great to be building relationships locally,” she added.
“I think it’s a massive opportunity especially as we train altogether on the Thursday with the senior team on the next court. Hopefully they can watch these athletes in action with the ethos and expectations that they have and replicate that if that’s what they want to aspire to.
“It’s a chance to see what it’s like and what it takes to play at a professional level and understand that you can still have a full-time job and commit to being a semi-professional netballer. We hope that can inspire them.”
“They are a committed and enthusiastic group of players and I am really looking forward to watching them progress and develop over the course of the season.”
Photo Credit: Andrew Taylor