Lily-May Catling and Betsy Creak excited and honoured to lead Team Bath Netball into 2023 Super League campaign
Wales Commonwealth Games shooter Betsy Creak is proud to be the versatile defender’s vice-captain following an innovative selection process that involved written applications, interviews and a vote from the Haines Watts-sponsored Super League squad.
“To be voted in as captain by my team-mates is pretty special,” said Catling, who first joined the Blue & Gold as an Academy player before returning to the club ahead of the 2022 season. “This group of women has such a blend of experience and youthful vitality, and for them to look at me and think I can represent them well is a huge privilege and honour.
“I have never been through a process like this before but it was a really good exercise, a chance to think about my leadership approach and reflect on what I can bring to the squad. My love for Team Bath, this group and the programme we are putting together is probably my biggest strength. I live and breathe the culture we are building, so I hope I can lead by example.”
She is also looking forward to working with vice-captain Creak, saying: “Betsy and I are really good friends and went through the captaincy process together, checking each other’s applications. She demands high standards from everyone, so I know she will demand more from me if she needs to.”
Creak, in her fourth season with Team Bath, said: “I’m really excited to be vice-captain, I think the role fits my strengths well. My personal goal going into this season was to really enjoy my netball and I know I will enjoy this challenge, especially working alongside Lily-May.
“I expect a lot physically and mentally from myself, and that is a good thing for younger members of the squad to see. Everyone can improve, everyone has things to work on and I hope I encourage my team-mates to demand more from themselves and each other.
“This is a great squad to be part of. There is such a variety of characters and experiences within it, from first-year students through to full-time internationals, and I love hearing about everyone’s different days. It all makes for a really good dynamic.”
Head Coach Asha Francis invited everyone in the squad to put themselves forward for the captaincy and Catling was encouraged to apply by 2022 skipper Imogen Allison, who has decided to take a step back this year due to her international commitments with England.
“Imo has been incredibly supportive throughout,” said Catling. “She is one of the many natural leaders in this squad whose experience I can call on and they will make my job an easy one.”
Francis, a former Team Bath captain herself, said: “I think Lily-May and Betsy will be a really effective leadership team. They have a good friendship but are also honest with each other and quite different characters, which is an important dynamic.
“Lily-May has some excellent qualities and is enthusiastically supportive of everything we are trying to do. She’s approachable, caring and close to everyone in the group, she’s here to nurture and push everyone forward.
“Betsy has a real presence in training and is also fully committed to the programme, so it became clear those two would be the best candidates to lead us this season.
“This is the first time we’ve used this process at Team Bath but I have experienced it before with other squads and thought it worked well. You want people of the right calibre to be captain but they also need to want the job and responsibility.
“I asked players to put themselves forward and tell me why they thought they would make a great captain, what qualities they would bring to the role and the team, then we interviewed the applicants and asked the playing group to vote too. There was no set plan whether it would be one captain or a leadership group, we wanted to see where the process organically took us.
“Lily-May and Betsy came out with the roles but we have so many people in our squad who, just because they don’t have that title of captain, will still be leaders on and off the court.”
There is now less than a month to go until Team Bath get their 2023 Super League campaign under way against Loughborough Lightning in the Season Opener event at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 11th February (11am centre-pass).
Team Bath Netball is supported by its Principal and Pathway Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts; Bath Building Society and Rengen Developments, who are overall Team Bath Partners; Centurion Chartered Financial Planners; Ecus Ltd, our environment partner; and PDS Coaching, who provide performance mentoring. Team Bath’s suppliers include O’Neills, 2XU and Pulseroll.