Team Bath enjoyed a fine start to their pre-season campaign when they reached the final of the Mike Greenwood Trophy on Saturday (Dec. 10).
It was the second final in two years for the Blue and Gold who won the Manchester-based competition last year, and the event allowed new players Shantal Slater, Vangelee Williams, Paige Reed and Layla Guscoth to make their first Team Bath appearances.
En route to the final Team Bath defeated Celtic Dragons 25-14, Hertfordshire Mavericks 24-13 and Manchester Thunder 26-18 in the round-robin stage, during which they also lost to new Superleague franchise Wasps 19-15.
And it would be Wasps who eventually defeated Anna Stembridge’s team again when the two teams met in the final, with the Coventry-based franchise taking the contest 22-15.
Team Bath’s Eboni Beckford-Chambers played alongside Slater and Williams for the first time since facing the pair in a recent international test series between England and Jamaica and there were promising early signs of chemistry between the new combinations.
There were also opportunities for the whole squad to enjoy some vital match experience and particularly encouraging for Blue and Gold fans was the fact that in all the games Team Bath won, they not only led each at half-time but those leads were extended in the second periods.
Speaking after the tournament Team Bath Director of Netball Jess Thirlby said: “It was really beneficial for us to take the squad to the MGT for the second year running.
“It allowed us to expose individuals, partnerships and combinations that have not yet been afforded much time together under the pressures and conditions of a match day,” she continued.
“The wider support staff team also gained valuable time to practise match day protocols to ensure we are ready to go come the start of the league on Feb 18th.”
Tickets are still available for Team Bath’s pre-season tri-tournament event, taking place at the University of Bath’s Sports Training Village on January 7. Click here for further details.
For more information about the upcoming Netball Superleague, click here.
Photos: Mark Pritchard