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A month that ‘every athlete dreams about’

Netball | Published:

THERE were performances aplenty for Team Jersey at Gold Coast 2018 that, in everyday circumstances, would have been difficult to ignore for the JEP Sports Personality of the Month award for April 2018.

Commonwealth Games champion Serena Guthrie (front, third left) has been named JEP Sports Personality of the Month for April 2018 Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Cameron Pirouet’s fourth-place finish in the men’s 3-position rifle final is certainly worth a mention, as is Kim Ashton’s top 20 finish in the women’s road race after pedalling her way to the front. And then there is Harry Shalamon’s stunning displays in the pool, which brought a bagful of Island records and an appearance in the men’s 50m backstroke final. In isolation, all three Islanders (and more) could have claimed the trophy.

But a Commonwealth Games gold medal is not an everyday circumstance for athletes hailing from Jersey.

Serena Guthrie endured gut-wrenching disappointment four years ago in Glasgow when England’s netballers were beaten by Jamaica in the bronze medal play-off. It proved to be another eye-opener for the Roses at their sport’s premier competition, with the gap between themselves and Australia and New Zealand highlighted once again as the Diamonds and Silver Ferns continued their 100 per cent records in reaching Commonwealth finals.

In 2015 new England coach Tracey Neville was tasked with forcing a new dawn in the world of international netball, and following three years of steady progress her team achieved a best-ever Quad Series finish in January 2018.

I couldn’t be prouder

Guthrie and Co touched down in Queensland last month with confidence. They believed it was their time to shine.

No-one, not even them, would have dreamed of doing it in the way they did, with consecutive last-second victories in the semi-final and final catapulting them to global glory and worldwide adulation.

Guthrie was carried off injured in the opening match of the campaign, but she returned without a judder and finished the tournament as one of the leading names. The 28-year-old’s trademark dynamism through the midcourt was a sight to behold, and after nudging her team towards a 52-51 gold medal-triumph she enjoyed a career highlight. Top step of the podium, with a devastated Australia forced to watch.

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‘It’s totally awesome to be picked for this,’ said Giants Netball centre Guthrie, speaking from Sydney after being awarded the JEP’s monthly sporting honour.

‘The last month has been what every athlete in any sport dreams about, and the fact I’ve had my friends and family riding the wave with me and supporting me through this just makes it more special.

‘The Commonwealth Games gold has helped put us on the map as a serious sport. It’s a sport which should be recognised along side rugby, football, cricket and hockey. It has been amazing to be an actual influencer in that change and I couldn’t be prouder.’

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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