Team Bath Netball have continued their build-up to the 2018 Vitality Superleague season by testing themselves against international opposition preparing for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold entertained Wales at the Team Bath Arena on Saturday, winning 68-31, before facing netball powerhouses New Zealand at London’s Copper Box Arena on Thursday.
Both teams will contest the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in April, while the Silver Ferns – currently ranked second in the world – are also facing England, Australia and South Africa in the Quad Series over the next ten days.
Team Bath Netball Head Coach Jess Thirlby said after the New Zealand game: “Pitting ourselves against the number two team in the world was such a great opportunity and provided us with the quality and intensity we needed as we look to fine-tune our performances with only three weeks to go until our opening match of the Superleague season.
“We got off to a really strong start against New Zealand and for the most part of the match competed really well. They are a top-quality international side who play with lots of flair and creativity in attack and put teams under pressure with their off-marking style of defence, so it was pleasing to see both our experienced players and youngsters apply themselves against that. For some this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relish.
“Anna [Stembridge] and I were really pleased with how the team took what they had learned in training and applied it in the match. Multiple combinations were able to produce more consistent performances across the six periods, giving us a lot to think about over the next few weeks. The quality and depth within this 2018 squad is so exciting and we know that will prove critical this season.
“We would like to thank New Zealand’s players and staff for the match and wish them and all the international teams the best of luck for the upcoming Quad series.”
New Zealand will start their Quad Series matches on Saturday (6pm) against an England squad featuring Team Bath duo Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Kadeen Corbin. That match is also at the Copper Box Arena, as is the meeting between England and Australia on Monday (7.45pm), before the Roses conclude the Series against South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday, January 28 (12.30pm).
Focus will then shift back to the domestic scene, with Team Bath starting their 2018 Superleague season away to Team Northumbria on Saturday, February 10.
They have three home matches at the University of Bath Sports Training Village before the mid-season break for the Commonwealth Games – against Surrey Storm on February 23, UWS Sirens on March 2 and Manchester Thunder on March 9 (all start at 7.30pm).
Tickets are on sale now for those matches, as well as the six home games in the second half of the season – visit netball.teambath.com/fixtures to purchase or further details.
Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec and supported by partners Mogers Drewett, Investigo and Netball South West. Centurion Chartered Financial Planners are supporting the team’s performance analysis capabilities, Viper 10 are their Sportswear Supplier and Skins provide the team with compression wear.
Lead photo shows the Team Bath Netball and New Zealand squads after Thursday’s friendly at the Copper Box Arena.
Report courtesy of the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight Ltd.