England Netball visit a ‘catalyst’ for elite attention

NETBALL officials in Jersey could look to target the likes of Australia and New Zealand for Commonwealth Games training camps next year, it has been revealed.

England Vitality Roses are due to spend a week's training camp in Jersey from 26 July
England Vitality Roses are due to spend a week's training camp in Jersey from 26 July

Jersey Netball Association president Linda Andrews says the upcoming arrival of England’s elite squad could provide other world-class sides with confidence to book similar trips, particularly with the 2022 Games taking place in Birmingham.

England will spend a week in the Island from 26 July, making use of the multi-million-pound facilities at Strive Academy before holding an open training session in front of netball fans at Les Ormes.

A coaching session for players in school years 6-8 will also be held.

‘To have England coming over ... I can’t believe it, really,’ said Andrews.

‘It’s absolutely massive. It’s an incredible opportunity for us to be there at the start of their Commonwealth Games gold-medal campaign. They could have gone anywhere but they’ve chosen Jersey because of the amazing facilities we have up at Strive.

‘It could be a catalyst for other netball teams to see what Jersey has to offer. I’m sure this will encourage Superleague teams to look at us for pre-season training and with the Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham, we could have another international team coming to train here beforehand. Teams like Australia and New Zealand will have come across from the other side of the world, so why not pop in to Jersey?

‘Once we’ve seen what’s happened with England ... hopefully on social media they’ll see all of that and that’ll spark some interest.’

England’s arrival accompanies that of two high-profile rugby squads this summer, in the shape of the British and Irish Lions and Premiership giants Leicester Tigers.

Andrews is pleased that her sport will be taking a share of the limelight when it comes to Jersey’s summer listings.

‘It’s going to be wonderful for our netball community to be able to see the players up close and personal,’ she said. ‘We’ve never had that opportunity before. We’ve had age-group sides here before but never the senior team. It’s going to be sensational.’

The training camp represents the first opportunity for Roses head coach Jess Thirlby to get her squad together since announcing her picks for the 2021/22 campaign. England will be defending their Commonwealth title next summer, having claimed gold at Gold Coast 2018.

‘We were drawn to Jersey by the new Strive facility and the chance to take the team to a different environment where they can start to connect as a group for what will be a big year,’ Thirlby said.

‘I was fortunate enough to play in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and being the home nation at a multi-sport event is incredible. Doing it next year in Birmingham as the reigning gold medallists – that’s a huge privilege. I don’t think that will happen again in our lifetimes.’

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