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Hall of Fame

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Jade Clarke of England walks of the pitch after beating South Afria during the preliminaries stage two schedule match between England and South Africa at M&S Bank Arena on July 18, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

England Netball launched the Hall of Fame in 2001 during the 75th Anniversary of the organisation.

Those invested have made notable and significant contributions to England Netball and the sport of netball internationally. The Hall of Fame celebrates individuals who have reached the highest honours in their respective fields whether that be playing, coaching, officiating or board members.

England Netball’s Hall of Fame inductees include some of the most recognisable names in sport and some of its unsung heroes. They are listed below by date inducted:

 

2020

Eboni Usoro-Brown

Eboni started to play netball at the age of eight when it soon became obvious that this player was one to watch. Surprisingly she started her playing career as a WA/C but her physical stature and controlled determination made her a natural defender.

Working her way through the England Netball Pathway from U17s upwards, Eboni made her debut for England against Malawi in 2008, a year before representing her country at the World Youth Championships in Fiji. Whilst continuing to study for a law degree she became a member of the very successful Team Bath Vitality Netball Superleague team and continued to feature as a member of the Vitality Roses team in several major competitions.

Eboni was a member of the teams that won bronze at the 2011, 2015 and 2019 World Championships. Plus, she was a part of the history making squad that secured gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Who cannot remember her interception in the last critical moments of the Jamaica semi-final and the subsequent very recognisable fist-pump!

Showing no sign of slowing down, she went on to achieve the amazing milestone of 100 international caps at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 in Liverpool.

One of the most feared and recognisable international defenders.

Jo Harten

Making her debut for England in 2007 at the World Championships at just 18, Jo has gone on to thrill audiences with her amazing skills across the world and netball is certainly richer for the presence of this player.

Jo started her Vitality Netball Superleague journey with Saracens Mavericks (whom at that time were known as Hertfordshire Mavericks) in 2007, before moving on to play with Loughborough Lightning whilst studying for her degree, which then led to her appearing in two Grand Finals. Since then Jo has played for teams in New Zealand and Australia and has become one of the most sought-after international shooters.

She was a member of the England teams at three Commonwealth Games, and four World Cups, winning three bronze medals and the amazing gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Her long arms were a critical factor in the winning goal in the epic Jamaica semi-final.

A spectacular long-range shooter, the game of Fastnet / Fast5 also suited Jo’s talented and fearless nature, resulting in two gold medals in 2011 and 2017.

Jo became the 10th English player in history to reach the milestone of 100 caps in Liverpool at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019.

In recognition of her commitment, Jo was awarded an MBE for services to netball in 2020.

A player who gives her all every time she takes to the court.

Maggie Jackson is one of the most inspirational and well-known faces in English netball. She has created a fantastic reputation for herself since representing England nationally during the mid-80s.

Maggie played in the squad at the 1985 World Games and the 1987 Netball World Tournament in Glasgow.

As a coach for Bedfordshire and assistant Head Coach for England Netball, she was part of the England Roses coaching team at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as the Netball World Cup in Singapore in 2011. The squad won bronze medals at all three tournaments.

Influential in the formation of Hertfordshire Mavericks and as Head Coach and Director of Performance, Maggie led the NSL franchise to Superleague titles in 2008 and 2011 and was voted NSL Coach of the Year in 2008.

As a coach educator and lecturer, she has worked in both the educational sector and the sporting environment with a focus in coaching and mentoring. More recently, she has coached the Army and the Isle of Man national team.

Maggie received a Netball Europe Service award in 2018 and is an England Netball honorary life member. On 1 February 2013, Maggie received her MBE from Prince Charles for her services to netball.

‘A talented player and inspirational coach, and now a superb coach educator, mentoring and delivering courses to so many aspiring coaches. A true professional and her enthusiasm, humility and compassion touch all those who are lucky enough to cross paths with her’ – Mary Beardwood, EN National Coach and Hall of Fame

2018

Olivia Murphy

Olivia played for Linden Netball Club, Derbyshire County and first represented her country at the World Youth Netball Championship in Toronto in 1996 when the England squad won a bronze medal. She holds 95 international CAPs and has two Commonwealth Games bronze medals.

Olivia captained her country from 2000 – 2006, nicknamed ‘Captain Fantastic’ by one journalist in 2003.

Described as someone who has spent her life juggling, sport, education and trying to have a social life – organisation and balance had been drilled into Olivia from an early age.

In 1998 she successful graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Economics with Accountancy and won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games the same year. The first where netball was played.

An influential and passionate advocate for Loughborough Lightening, she represented the franchise in the first Netball Superleague back in 2006, initially as team captain but then going on to become player – coach and coach until 2011.

Currently Olivia is Head of Netball and a senior performance programme manager at Loughborough University.

In an interview she advised young athletes; ‘Trust yourself, push the boundaries, be organised and you can be successful in whatever you choose to do.’ She has certainly followed this advice herself to become a living legend of our game.

 

Tracey Neville

Tracey has done what no other England Netball coach has done before – guided, cajoled, supported and inspired a Commonwealth Games Gold medal winning team.

Beginning her netball career in Bury, Great Manchester, Tracey went on to earn 81 Caps for her country from 1993 to 2008, playing mainly in the ‘glamour’ position of Goal Attack.

In the Netball Superleague she played and coached Leeds Met Carnegie. Following her playing career retirement, due to injury, Tracey went on to turn around the fortunes of Team Northumbria as head coach and then to lead a very successful Manchester Thunder Franchise.

In September 2015 Tracey was confirmed as EN National Coach and given a target of making the final of either the 2015 World Cup in Australia or the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Descried in the press after just a few months at the help as having ‘courage, passion and refreshing transparency’ – netball knew that there would be exciting times ahead. In 2016 Tracey received an MBE for services to netball.

Tracey has shown stolid determination throughout her career and like other world class coaches, she trusts in youth. Young players, she has said, bring fire and life to your squad.

Never forgetting netball fans, organisers and volunteers – Tracey will always stop with a smile to give a selfie or autograph.

On Sunday 15 April 2018, all that trust, determination and drive paid off for both Tracey and her team. She described the moment as a dream and said that she was living it as a coach through the eyes of these players.’

 

Ama Agbeze

It all began for Ama at school in Birmingham and then in Bath, Somerset. She first appeared in England Netball kit in 2001 at the age of 19. She is a qualified lawyer.

Ama has been dubbed ‘a marvel of the modern netball world, having played in Australia, New Zealand and England, for three different ANZ Championship teams and across five positions on the court’.

She played for Loughborough Lightning in the Netball Superleague from 2002 – 2007, before transferring to Leeds Carnegie in 2008. In 2008 she signed with the West Coast Fever to play in the Autralasian ANZ Championship, subsequently moving to the Melbourne Vixens for the 2009 season, and after receiving little court time there, she transferred to the New Zealand franchise Central Pulse for 2010.

She became England Captain during the 2016 season and won a Commonwealth Games Bronze in 2006 and Gold in April 2018. She led the victorious team out in the Gold Coast to beat Australia with her now famous and inspiring mantra ‘If not now, when? If not you, who?’ – It’s us. It’s now.

On behalf of the England Roses, she received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 – Team of the Year Award and delivered the acceptance speech and in 2019 Ama was awarded an MBE for services to netball.

 

2016

Gary Burgess

Gary started his netball career in Bedfordshire, achieving a C Award in 2001 and within 8 years he gained international Umpiring accreditation.

When asked in 2008 as to what was the highlight of his career he said ‘Winning England Netball’s Umpire of the Year 2008 has to be highlight so far as it was voted for by the players and coaches within the NSL itself. Last year I actually got the opportunity to umpire the Australian National team in closed doors practice match in preparation of the Australia, New Zealand and England Tri Series Tournament. This also features quite high on the list.’

Since then, Gray has gone on to win seven England Netball Umpire of the Year awards and has been one of the officials for the Netball Superleague Finals for seven consecutive years. He is also an assessor and mentor for many aspiring umpires across the country on both a one to one basis as well as presenting and sharing his experiences with larger audiences at key conferences.

In meeting his aspirations to achieve international acclaim, Gary can currently be seen officiating top matches across the world. He has officiated in three Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Glasgow and Gold Coast Australia plus 3 World Netball Championships finals in Singapore, Sydney and Liverpool. In 2019 he achieved a special award for umpiring his 100th international match.

Gary is instantly recognisable, he has over 2,700 followers on Twitter and has shown the world through his many television appearances that men can be an integral part of Netball. Husband, Daddy and International Umpire.

 

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010

2009

2008

2007

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

Mary started playing Netball at Mary Datchelor Girls School and then Dartford PE College from 1943-46 and taught PE in Surrey and Middlesex for over 40 years.

Gained Preliminary Umpiring Award whilst at school and played in Surrey League for MDOG and at Lincolns Inn on Thursday Lunchtime.

1945 – GK for Surrey County
Circa 1945 – Involved in the establishment of Welsh Netball
1949-57 – GD in first England Netball team and continued playing for England for 6 years and held the role of Captain
1956 – Member of team on first tour to South Africa
Held various roles within England Netball, England Selector, National Technical Officer
1963 – 1st World Championship in England was a volunteer selling merchandise
1966 – Tour to South Africa
1967 – 1975 – England Coach
1967 – Coach – 2nd World Championship in Australia – England finished 4th
1971 – Coach 3rd World Championship in Jamaica – England finished 3rd
1971 – 1983 – Membership of the UK committee before it became FENA/Netball Europe
1975 – Coach 4th World Championship England finished 2nd
1967 – 1979 – National Technical Officer and Selection Committee
1979 – Umpiring committee and selection
1984 – 1986 – Welsh Netball Coach
1987 – 1994 – Member of the UK and Ireland Umpiring Committee before it became FENA/Netball Europe
2001 – EN Hall of Fame
2010 – Netball Europe Service Award
2011 – EN Lifetime Achievement Award

Mary instigated events and developed netball for emerging countries in Europe and she has authored and edited books about Netball.

Mary attended 13 different World Netball Championships, over 53 years and travelled to 7 different countries. She was born on 13 February 1926, the day after EN’s birth!

 

Former AENA President, Honorary Secretary of the International Netball Federation and national England Coach/Manager.

Born before the first World War and a young teenager when the Women’s Suffrage Movement was at its height, Rena was initially involved in sport as a teacher, coach and physiotherapist.

Rena Stratford captained Middlesex, who, as County Champions represented England against Scotland at the 1939 Glasgow Exhibition.

It was in 1943 during the second world war that Rena Stratford began her many years influencing the development of netball not only in the UK but across the world. As National Organiser for Netball in England she ensured the game continued being played despite the challenges of wartime.

In 1951 during AENA’s Silver Jubilee year Rena published her first book about coaching “Know the Game – Netball’.

At the 1953 AGM Rena Stratford spoke of the need to widen horizons and suggested that it was time England linked up with other netball playing areas in the world.

In 1954 following the first international netball match against Northern Ireland, Rena made this visionary statement… ‘in the form of international matches, touring teams, publicity, news space in the daily papers, television reports, promoters, gate money at stadium, full time paid officials, better play, more enjoyment… these visions could become realities if we look for the opportunities and seize them when they come.”

1956: England’s first touring team, whose members had to find their own air fares, took four days to fly in a two-engine Viking aircraft to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. Rena led the party as Manager/Coach, Miss Rose Harris was the umpire and Mary French nee Bushell (Surrey) captained a successful team of ten players which won all matches including three Tests against South Africa.

1963: as one of the first International Federation Committee members (all from England) Rena had overall organisational responsibility for the first Netball World Tournament in Eastbourne.

She introduced the opening candle lighting and closing flag ceremonies retained in their original simplicity and dignity at all subsequent World Tournaments including 2019 in Liverpool.

Following her challenge for netball to “Develop or die” the AENA Council agreed in 1964 to Rena’s proposal for a full-time Organising Secretary. Annette Cairncross became the first full time holder of this office.

Rena was EN President from 1963 to 1969 and IFNA President from 1967 to 1971, She died in 1989 and posthumously became one of the first members of the EN Hall of Fame in 2001.

 

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