England star Eboni Beckford-Chambers says she is “proud and honoured” to be named as captain of Team Bath Netball for the 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague season.
The 27-year-old defender, who has spent the past four years playing professionally in the ANZ Championship in Australia, confirmed her return to the famous Blue and Gold last month.
She can boast a wealth of experience having won four Superleague titles during her previous spell at Team Bath. She has also been capped 71 times for England, winning World Cup bronze medals in 2011 and 2015.
“I feel so proud to have been handed this role,” said Beckford-Chambers, who thanked Director of Netball Jess Thirlby and Head Coach Anna Stembridge for their support.
“I grew up here at Team Bath, this is where I made the transition from junior player to England international, so it is a great honour to be captain.
“I am absolutely loving being back here. The environment that Jess and Anna have created is so supportive and all the girls have really brought into it. We are laughing and having fun but also training incredibly hard. Everyone has been so positive and we are excited about what we can achieve this season.
“We are going to be really competitive. The standard in training has been so high and we are all pushing each other on to develop both individually and as a team.”
Vice-captain for 2016 will be Asha Francis, who skippered the Superleague team last season and is now also coaching Team Bath Toucans in National Premier League 1.
Also included in the leadership group are England internationals Sam Cook and Mia Ritchie. Both played influential roles on court last season, with defender Cook finishing runner-up in the Superleague Player of the Year awards and Ritchie providing her usual drive and dynamism from mid-court.
Thirlby said: “Anna and I spent time discussing the leadership of the team for this season and the merits of all players in being invited to step into these roles.
“We feel confident that Eboni, Asha, Mia and Sam are the right people and, more importantly, the right combination to inspire their team-mates and represent all the qualities that are valued by us at Team Bath.
“We have already worked with Asha and Eboni as captains, both at England and Team Bath level, and are delighted they will spearhead the leadership group. Mia and Sam have shown an increasing aptitude to lead and, more importantly, a desire to do so and have a good rapport with their team-mates.”
Beckford-Chambers will wear the captain’s armband for the first time at the forthcoming tri-tournament against last season’s Superleague finalists, Surrey Storm and Hertfordshire Mavericks.
Taking place at the Sports Training Village on Saturday, November 14, it will feature three matches in one action-packed afternoon.
Tickets are on sale priced just £10 for adults, £7 concessions and £28 for a family ticket, and Beckford-Chambers is calling on netball fans to show their support.
“It would be great to have a big crowd cheering us on at the tri-tournament, the fans here are so loyal and amazing,” she said. “The tri-tournament will be a really good indicator of where we are but I am also hoping it will encourage competition in the squad to flourish even more. Everyone will be looking to put their best foot forward and make sure they are in the final Superleague squad.”
Season tickets and individual match tickets for the 2016 Superleague season are also now available. Check out the Team Bath website for further details.
Team Bath Netball, supported by estate agents Carter Jonas, faced Superleague rivals Celtic Dragons in an open training match on Saturday, winning four of the five periods played and 62-46 overall.
That was despite being without seven experienced players, including Beckford-Chambers, and Thirlby said: “It was great to see the younger players take the opportunity to really assert themselves and make an impact.
“It was a really positive performance and when you consider the players we have to come back into the mix, it all bodes well for the tri-tournament.”
Report courtesy of the Team Bath Press Office via Matchtight.