Today (08/06/21), we celebrate the birthday of Chelsea Pitman as the Vitality Rose turns 33.
The world-class mid-courter was named in the Roses full-time programme ahead of the 2021-22 season as she aims to add to a glittering career.
Chelsea lifted the Netball World Cup with Australia in 2011 and carried that winning mentality into the England dressing room when she switched allegiances in 2017.
Qualifying through her Yorkshire-born father, the 33-year-old helped the Vitality Roses win the first Gold Medal in the nation’s history when they defeated Australia in a dramatic 2018 Commonwealth Games final.
She remained crucial to the team’s ambition to win the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup in front of a home crowd in Liverpool.
Chelsea was former Head Coach Tracey Neville’s first-choice wing-attack throughout the tournament as England ultimately fell just short in the semi-final against eventual champions New Zealand.
It was the end of an unprecedented chapter in English netball history as Neville departed and several key players took a break from the programme.
But Chelsea’s quality was also observed by current boss Jess Thirlby and she was back in England for the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in 2020.
The pandemic has since made it difficult for the Australia-based players to link up with the Vitality Roses squad.
And after Chelsea was surprisingly not signed by a Suncorp Super Netball club following Adelaide Thunderbirds’ decision not to renew her contract, there were concerns her place within the England setup could be in doubt.
Therefore, there was tremendous excitement to see her name in May’s squad announcement and the 2011 ANZ Championship winner can now look forward to more success on the international stage.
Domestically, Chelsea is representing Garville Netball Club in the South Australia Netball Premier League but she hinted at a return to the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) next season having played for Manchester Thunder in 2015.
Next season 🤞🏼🤞🏼
this season in the UK with covid I couldn't commit leaving my family with the uncertainty of what this season could of looked like.
— Chelsea Pitman (@ChelseaPitman) May 13, 2021
She tweeted: “Next season. This season in the UK with COVID I couldn’t commit leaving my family with the uncertainty of what this season could of looked like.”
Chelsea will be hoping to support England’s defence of their Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham next summer and starring in the 2022 VNSL season could be the perfect preparation for that.
Beyond the skillful work she displays in abundance on the court, her leadership and experience off the court are invaluable assets to any team.
In addition to the 38 England caps she’s accumulated since making her debut against South Africa in January 2011, Chelsea has 18 appearances for Australia to her name.
She’s also played for some of the best clubs in the Southern Hemisphere and was co-captain of the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2019 in tandem with international colleague Layla Guscoth, while Beth Cobden was another Vitality Rose in that squad.
And we can’t wait to see Chelsea line up alongside both in the red dress as soon as possible!