Three players who took part in the weekend’s Netball Superleague Grand Final – Natalie Seaton and Eboni Beckford Chambers of TeamBath, and 18 year old Jo Harten of Mavericks – are named after registering impressive performances throughout the season for their Superleague teams, as well as for the England A side which took part in the recent test series against Australia and New Zealand. Asha Tett, a former TeamBath player who is currently finishing her placement year in New Zealand, has also been included after a season playing for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in the National Bank Cup.
Beckford-Chambers, Harten and Tett are named in the Open squad for the first time, while Seaton already knows what to expect, having been part of the squad in 2002.
The full squad, (and Superleague team details), is: Amanda Newton, Karen Atkinson, Louisa Brownfield, Jo Harten, Naomi Siddall, (all Mavericks), Sara Bayman, Jo Binns, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Pamela Cookey, Sasha Corbin, Rachel Dunn, Geva Mentor, Natalie Seaton (all TeamBath), Chioma Ezeogu, Naida Hutchinson, Sonia Mkoloma (Brunel Hurricanes), Ama Agbeze, Jade Clarke (Loughborough Lightning), Clare Elsley (Celtic Dragons), Asha Tett (Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic).
“England’s netballers have a tough season ahead of them,” says Nigel Holl, England Netball’s Performance Director, “and it is vital that the Open squad members continue to challenge themselves and each other to achieve their goals. The new names in the squad have all put in superb performances this season, both in the Netball Superleague and for England A in the recent tri-series, and each has something different to offer, which can only strengthen the overall standard within the England long squad.”
First on the agenda for the new names will be competition for places on the Open squad’s training tour to Australia, which takes place from 22 June to 7 July. Matches will be played against a number of Australian Commonwealth Bank Trophy sides, as well as a training match against the Australian squad, as preparations for November’s World Championships step up a gear. The 13 player squad to undertake this tour is: Amanda Newton (capt), Karen Atkinson (vice capt), Ama Agbeze, Sara Bayman, Jo Binns, Louisa Brownfield, Jade Clarke, Pamela Cookey, Rachel Dunn, Jo Harten, Geva Mentor, Sonia Mkoloma, Asha Tett.
A squad will then travel to Jamaica in September, before the final squad to travel to the World Championships is named later this year.
“England’s squad has much to do between now and November,” continues Holl, “but I am confident that the squad named today will push itself to the limits to achieve its goal, of returning with a medal.”
Karen Greig of Northern Thunder is still recovering from a long-term knee injury and has not been considered for selection at this time: meanwhile, TeamBath’s Tamsin Greenway has withdrawn from the England squad for personal reasons.
The Netball World Championships take place from 10-17 November at the Trusts Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. England is currently ranked fourth in the world, after its position at the 2003 World Championships, but took bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and, most recently, beat New Zealand, the reigning World Champions, in a test match in May, for the first time in 32 years.
Picture, by Kevin Jones, shows England captain Amanda Newton (left) in action for Mavericks against new England squad member Natalie Seaton (playing for TeamBath) in last Saturday’s Netball Superleague Grand Final.
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