Vitality Rose Ella Clark has been revealed as Loughborough Lightning Netball’s first signing for the 2020 Vitality Netball Superleague season.
Having recently been awarded another full-time contract with the Vitality Roses for 2019/20, Clark will combine her national commitments with the full-time Lightning programme, both of which are based at Loughborough University.
In her fourth season with the side, Clark will also compete for Leicester Riders Women’s Basketball side during the new campaign. No stranger to the dual-athlete role, Clark boasts international caps for both netball and basketball and looks to once again intertwine the two in 2020.
Having featured in Lightning’s 2017 and 2018 side that saw them pipped at the post in the Grand Final in two consecutive years, Clark’s experience in high pressure situations and leadership role within the squad will play a key part in the upcoming season.
Head Coach Sara Bayman highlighted Clark’s importance within the squad: “I’m pleased that Ella has committed to Lightning for another year.
“Despite playing basketball as well this season, she was keen to stay at Lightning and I think the two sports can really complement each other.
“Ella’s combination with other players in the attacking end improved throughout last season and her calmness helps the team in pressure situations.”
Clark referenced the momentum the side gained last year: “It feels really great to sign for Lightning for another year and I can’t wait to get the season started.
“I’m hoping we can build on last year’s campaign, we lost a few key players going into 2019 so it took some time for us to build and adjust as a fairly new squad so I’m looking forward to continuing on that journey and pushing further next season.”
Of her dual-athlete role, she explained how it came about: “Previously I played basketball professionally overseas, before switching back to netball but then I injured my ACL.
“Since then it’s always been in the back of my mind about wanting to play basketball again and with Leicester Riders training here at Loughborough and working so closely with Lightning, I was lucky to be given the opportunity this year to play both and I’ve grabbed it with both hands.
“Loughborough is a great sports environment to be in, the support is all here at your disposal.
“You can be in the gym with British Swimming next to you and GB Weightlifting at the back so you really train in that professional environment and it pushes you to do better and be better.”
With more signings to be announced over the coming weeks, be sure to keep your eyes peeled to find out who will be joining Clark on court next season.
You can catch Loughborough Lightning in action for the first time at the Season Opener event on Saturday 22nd February 2020 when they face Team Bath.