Melissa played herself at international level, representing the New Zealand Maoris. She started her coaching career working her way up through the age groups of the national side in New Zealand, eventually coaching the New Zealand Maori National Team. She went on to coach the Fiji national side for two years, then to coach the Wales national team for four years, who went from 19th to 8th in the world under her instruction and gained Commonwealth Games qualification. The team also won Gold at Netball Europe. Alongside this, she coached the Celtic Dragons team in the Vitality Netball Superleague, who reached their first ever Grand Final with her in 2013. Melissa went on to become Director of Netball for Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate in Yorkshire, taking them to success, winning the National School Championship competition. Alongside this, she continued to support grassroots level netball, as Head Coach of NW Panthers Netball Club based in Chester, a role she will continue in. Melissa was Assistant Coach at Team Northumbria in the 2017/2018 season and at new Superleague side London Pulse last season.
Sam, who has been a fixture in Severn Stars’ defensive line-up for the past two seasons, will be working with new Head Coach, Melissa Bessell. “I am excited about taking my coaching to the next level,” she said. “It’s not just the playing opportunities that you take in netball; when a chance to coach at Superleague level presents itself, you have to take it. Having loved coaching the Pathway, I am looking forward to the new challenge of working with players at the highest level of netball in this country. I have played alongside a lot of this year’s squad and, as a result, hope that my leadership on the court will have gained their trust and respect to lead them off the court too.” Sam has been the Severn Stars Pathway Head Coach for the past two years, helping to guide younger players in the Stars’ Under 19 and Under 21 set-up.
Cat, a shooting ace, has been brought in to strengthen our coaching team. To have such a renowned international netball superstar join us is going to be inspiring. Cat will bring huge amounts of knowledge and experience along with passion, skills and flair. We are so excited to have her onboard and we know we will have a lot more fans following us now.