Stacey Francis reflects on her Team Bath return and the Blue & Gold’s massive contribution to the netball world
Stacey Francis says she loved being back with Team Bath Netball this month and has been reflecting with pride on the Blue & Gold’s legacy within the netball world.
The legendary defender, a key member of all five Team Bath Superleague-winning squads and University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport inductee, put on the famous colours once again for the recent British Fast5 All-Stars Championship.
“It was awesome,” she told The Netball Show podcast. “I am Team Bath through and through. I played for them for an awfully long time and it was great to slot straight back into that team environment and work with Jess [Thirlby] and Anna [Stembridge] again, I think they are two of the best coaches I have worked with. There were some familiar faces [in the squad] from when I was there but some up-and-coming talent too.”
Being back in the Team Bath environment for the first time in four years brought back plenty of memories for Francis, who was part of the Blue & Gold set-up when the national Superleague competition was established in 2005.
A host of players from that time are still having a major impact on the game as both players and coaches, with Thirlby, Pamela Cookey, Rachel Dunn, Geva Mentor and Tamsin Greenway all part of the inaugural Superleague squad under the guidance of legendary coach Lyn Gunson – another Hall of Fame for Sport member.
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I officially joined @teambathnetball_ in 2005 in the inaugural year of Superleague having also played in the final Team Bath Super Cup squad that same year (only the 👵🏾👴🏾 will have a clue of what I’m talking about!!). Even though I was the youngest member of the squad I’d been waiting patiently to get my name on the back of a Team Bath dress for about two years! A decade flies by and I’ve somehow managed to wing my way into the @team_bath Sports Hall of Fame and become one of the longest standing members of the team. Having been out of the bubble for three years now I was pretty bloody excited to have the chance, even if only for a day, to represent the team I aspired to play for as a youngun’ @fast5allstars again!! 💙💛 Swipe 👈🏾 for a serious throwback!! #blueandgold #netballold #family #teambath #idratherhaveabaththanashower
“It’s easy to forget the legacy that Team Bath and the players that have come through that programme have created,” said Francis, who now plays for West Coast Fever in Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball competition.
“The team and environment was always a fantastic place to be and the players [that came through] are ones that people will always remember. It’s credit to the likes of Lyn Gunson and the people that put that first Team Bath programme together.
“The contribution that Team Bath players will make to the world of netball as a whole isn’t going to stop any time soon.”
Listen to the full interview with Viper 10 Ambassador Stacey Francis here: