An array of England players will be looking to dominate with their teams in this year’s Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL).
The Season Opener will take place Saturday 22 February in front of record-breaking crowds at Arena Birmingham and there is set to be appearances from the Vitality Roses, Roses Futures and Roses U21s across the action-packed league.
Manchester Thunder x Roses
Vitality Rose Rebekah Airey, an adept GD and GK both internationally and domestically, will be hoping to retain the VNSL title with Manchester Thunder after their 2019 Grand Final victory crowned them champions.
Along with Airey, accomplished mid-courter and Vitality Rose Laura Malcom will be kickstarting another season with Thunder after an incredible run with them last year. With 28 caps for her country and three previous titles with Thunder under her belt (2012, 2014 and 2019), another successful stint may be on the horizon.
Let’s also not forget four-time capped Roses Future, Amy Carter, who at 21 is already internationally renowned in the netball world. Also part of Thunder’s 2019 winning campaign, she too will be hoping to repeat the team’s success this season.
GA and GSEleanor Cardwell, who has been a member of the full-time Roses programme since 2016, also joins Thunder for their 2020 VNSL season.
A trio of training partners for Thunder come in the form of a selection of U21 Roses; mid-courters Alicia Scholes and Ella Standring, and GA and GS Berri Neil are three of five training partners that are part of Thunder’s 2020 Superleague campaign.
London Pulse x Roses
Roses future Olivia Tchine is one to look out for. The teenager is an adaptable attacker, playing GA and GS for London Pulse, and has already earned multiple England honours.
Along with Tchine, U21 Roses squad member Zara Everitt, who is also only 19, will debut for Pulse this season. She has made previous VNSL appearances for Saracens Mavericks and Loughborough Lightning.
Kira Rothwell joins the three 19 year olds with London Pulse, familiar with both the international and domestic netball scene, she is likely to be a prominent player in the 2020 VNSL squad.
Let’s also not forget 22-year-old Roses Future Halimat Adio, strong in all three defence positions, whose move from Severn Stars to Pulse this season is one to watch.
Pulse have two training partners that also find themselves in the Roses U21 squad; GA and GS Emma Thacker and defender Funmi Fadoju.
Loughborough Lightning x Roses
Loughborough Lightning is another team holding down significant Roses presence. Alice Harvey, U21 Rose (GD and GK), joined the England set-up in 2016, progressing to the U21 squad after a 2018/19 campaign with the Roses Academy. Still just 18, Harvey will debut for Lightning in the 2020 VNSL season.
Members of the senior Vitality Roses squad that join her in Lightning’s pursuit for victory this season are Ella Clark (GA), Jessica Shaw (C, WA), Nathalie Panagarry (C, WD) and Vicki Oyesola (GD, WD).
Also, once again, this Superleague team has training partners in the form of the Roses. Young Roses Academy member and flexible mid-courter Suzie Liverseidge makes up one of the three training partners, with U21 defender Jasmin Odeogberin and U21 C and WA Hannah Williams, joining her for Lightning.
Saracens Mavericks x Roses
Multiple Vitality Roses will help make up components of the Saracens Mavericks side this season. The Hertfordshire-based team boast seasoned internationals such as Kadeen Corbin, a 70-time capped GA and GS, and mid-courter Gabby Marshall, who prior to progressing to the senior level of the franchise, captained the U19 side.
Another Vitality Rose is defender Jodie Gibson, who has played previously for both Lightning and Thunder, with 25 caps to her name, has also mastered the international scene.
George Fisher joins them, another GA and GS. With 12 caps under her belt and an association with England Netball since the age of 14, she is a familiar player to the VNSL having debuted in the 2015/16 season.
Joining the Roses in Saracen Mavericks is Razia Quashie, capped 11 times, she made her senior national debut in 2018 and came through the Mavericks pathway system.
Mavericks also have a Roses Academy squad member as one of their training partners, Aliyah Zaranyika, who plays in the position of either GD or WD.
Team Bath x Roses
A selection of Roses will also be part of the Team Bath squad for this year’s VNSL. Imogen Allison, Roses Future, will play her third season with Team Bath. As a skilled mid-courter, she regularly started as WD for Bath last season and is set to sustain this defensive and mid-court success throughout this year’s season.
Summer Artman plays as GD and GK for Team Bath and is well known for her defensive performance as a young player in domestic netball.
Fellow domestic and international teammate Eboni Usoro-Brown joins Artman in the same defensive positions for Bath. With a staggering 104 caps, Usoro-Brown is one of the most decorated Vitality Roses. Her extensive experience will prove extremely valuable to Team Bath both on and off the court.
Another Vitality Rose, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (GA and WA), a former Academy player and England Future, transferred to Team Bath in 2018. Her consistent and accurate shooting earnt her the VNSL Young Player of the Season Award in 2019.
An U21 Roses squad member is also part of Team Bath this season; Rachael Fee plays in GD and GK and will join Bath as a training partner for the 2020 VNSL.
Wasps Netball x Roses
Vitality Roses Iona Christian, Jade Clarke, and Fran Williams will appear for Wasps Netball for the 2020 season. Iona, a mid-court sensation, playing in C, GA and WA, has joined Wasps for 2020. She has been a part of the England Netball pathway since the age of 17, experiencing success through a multitude of international series’. Iona has been part of the Thunder and Severn Stars franchises at youth level.
Jade has 176 caps for England; she is the country’s most-capped netball player of all time. Also a mid-court wonder (C and WD) domestically and internationally, Jade will be completing her fourth consecutive season with Wasps.
Joining the mid-courters is 13-time capped Fran Williams. A signature Roses defensive player (GD, GK and WD), Fran balances her netball with being a student at the University of Birmingham.
Rachel Dunn, a recognisable Rose, has also been included in the Wasps’ 2020 squad. The attacker has 92 England caps and holds a record seven VNSL titles, she won her most recent with Wasps in 2018.
Again, two U21 Roses squad members will act as training partners for the Superleague team this season. GD and WD Ally Housley, and GA and GS Sienna Rushton join Wasps for the 2020 season.
Surrey Storm x Roses
Mikki Austin’s Surrey Storm presents a Rose in midcourt for their 2020 VNSL campaign. Acclaimed C and WA Yasmin Parsons, played for Team Bath from 2011-2015 but moved to Surrey Storm, whom she will play for in this 2020 VNSL campaign.
Severn Stars x Roses
Two young members of the Roses Academy will be part of the 2020 Severn Stars squad as training partners. Those players are talented GD and GK Hannah Howl, and joining her from the Academy is 18-year-old C and WA Chloe Carchrie who has been part of the Stars franchise for a number of years.
They also have Commonwealth Games captain Ama Agbeze in their ranks and former England U21 international Paige Reed.
By Hannah Bradfield.