England coach: ‘Our road to Commonwealth Games begins in Jersey’

ENGLAND head coach Jess Thirlby has stressed to her players that the defence of their Commonwealth Games title ‘starts in Jersey’, following confirmation that the country’s elite netballers will use the Island as a summer training base.

Serena Guthrie is set to spend a week training with England in Jersey this summer Picture: PA
Serena Guthrie is set to spend a week training with England in Jersey this summer Picture: PA

The Roses, featuring Serena Guthrie and a host of other international medallists, are set to visit from 26 July-3 August as they begin preparations for Birmingham 2022.

Strive Academy in St Peter will act as the squad’s multi-million-pound base for the week, although it is understood that they will hold an open on-court training session at Les Ormes. Their community interaction is also set to involve a coaching clinic for Island children.

The training camp represents the first opportunity for Thirlby to gather her players since announcing her picks for the 2021/22 campaign, which will culminate in a home Commonwealth challenge next August.

‘We don’t own the 2022 gold medal, we only own the 2018 gold medal,’ said Thirlby. ‘The slate has been wiped clean now.

‘I see it less as us defending it and more of us being able to repeat it. One thing that has eluded England before is having players who have been there and done it. We have that now and we’re in the mix.

‘It all starts in Jersey and we’ll be doing a lot on the first evening when we land on Island to remind the players of the task in hand and motivating them to put their best foot forward.'

Thirlby, who played alongside a teenage Guthrie at Team Bath in the late 2000s, says Jersey offers both her players and staff a chance to adapt their regime.

‘Social cohesion is as important as cohesion on the court and this group are known for their energy and joy and sense of pride when they’re wearing the red dress,’ she said. ‘There will be a big focus on physical training but at the same time we want to really feel like we’ve been to Jersey by experiencing what the Island has to offer. We’ll be using the stunning scenery as a backdrop while introducing the players to things they don’t normally experience.'

Guthrie – one of 25 players on the list to travel – said: ‘It’s a massive deal, the Roses coming to Jersey, and it’s obviously huge for me too, being a Jersey girl,’ she said. ‘It’s where it all began for me so it’ll be nice to go full circle and have a training camp there with my girls.'

Full story in Friday's JEP.

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