Today (08/04/21), we celebrate the birthday of Vitality Rose Gabby Marshall as the mid-courter turns 25!
An injury ruled Gabby out of January’s Vitality Netball Legends Series, but she made her eagerly-anticipated return in a Saracens Mavericks dress a few weeks later.
She featured on the second weekend of the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season in Mavericks’ match with Loughborough Lightning and has established herself as a key cog in Kat Ratnapala’s side.
Starting at centre in the recent clash with Team Bath Netball, she was integral to a heroic performance that saw Mavericks topple the previously unbeaten league leaders.
Only Layla Guscoth recorded more deflections in the game as Gabby displayed the quality at both ends of the court that will be invaluable at VNSL and international level.
And the former Manchester Thunder star has the opportunity to build some momentum after a disrupted couple of years.
First 15 minutes banked post injury. Glad to be back but there’s plenty more to come from us yet 👊🏻 https://t.co/WxP2Aq1fFB
— Gabby Marshall (@GabsLMarshall) February 22, 2021
A fractured foot sustained during the 2019 VNSL season ruled her out for several months and when she made her return for the 2020 campaign with three consecutive starts at wing-defence, the competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The disappointment of the season not continuing was offset in the Autumn when Gabby returned to the Vitality Roses squad for the first time in almost two years ahead of the Cadbury Netball Series in New Zealand.
And Jess Thirlby deployed her in all three matches against the world champions to take her tally up to eight caps having made her senior debut at Netball Europe in 2017.
Every cap has been hard-earned with the resilience and persistence exhbited by Gabby throughout her career proving vital to her success.
“I was actually named as a reserve at my first England trial and I remember being absolutely devastated that I wasn’t named in the team,” she revealed.
“Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to go on age group tours to Oceania, the World Youth Cup with the England U21s in Botswana where we got a bronze medal, and to win Fast5 gold in Melbourne.”
Her achievements within the England youth teams enabled her to reach the senior side where she lived the dream of any aspiring netballer by developing a friendship with one of the legends of the sport.
“When I first started playing, Jade Clarke was at my netball club and is obviously someone that plays my position. She was just a huge inspiration and still is now,” she said.
“I’m fortunate enough to call her one of my closest friends which is crazy considering I used to queue up for her autographs at the end of England games. She’s a phenomenal athlete, a fantastic person and someone who is just a great role model to look up to.”
The pair last lined up alongside each other in the Cadbury Netball Series and we can’t wait to see Gabby in the red dress once again!