I still can’t quite believe that I am sat here writing this as a Commonwealth Games Champion. I had long believed that it would be on my list of achievements but it’s another thing, now that it has actually happened.
I’ve been playing netball since I was about 10. I can remember my primary school teacher Mrs Watkins encouraging me to play and teaching me how to shoot. They are lovely memories.
The journey to the final was a long one with plenty of ups and downs. When the team met up for our pre-Games training camp in Sydney (about three weeks before Commonwealth Games), we lost our first two training matches against some Australian Suncorp Super Netball club sides. There was a slight sense of panic amongst the group, but we had a players’ meeting and reviewed the games which brought back some calm. Chelsea’s parents also arranged a boat cruise around Sydney harbour for us and getting the girls onto a boat with lots of food available (ensuring there were no h-angry people) is a sure fire way of engaging in team growth.
Being at the Games was incredible. We were so together as a team and you could really sense that we were all on the same page, while at the same time the team is the sum of the individuals within it, so there was always room for people to be themselves. We all knew we’d worked so hard to get to that point and we knew we had each others backs.
In the changing rooms just before the final, I gave each player a piece of paper and one by one asked them to put their bits of paper up on the wall. It spelt out two questions which I thought hit the nail on the head for us – “If not now, when? If not you, who?” Making the final was beyond what we had ever done, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to emphasise some key messages before going into that final game. It’s our time. We’re ready. We’re completely together – It’s us. It’s now.
— England Netball ?? (@EnglandNetball) June 29, 2018
I couldn’t have asked for a better response… Commonwealth Games gold medallists, sounds amazing doesn’t it?
Since the final and that win it’s been an absolute whirlwind. With me playing club in New Zealand I missed out on all the media events in the UK but I still got a huge sense of what we had achieved and how it impacted everyone.
It’s not every day you get Denise Lewis and Dylan Hartley tweeting about netball – I knew we had done something magical.
I hope that everyone involved and also those wanting to get involved in netball feel part of that moment. I want you all to know that no matter what your role, you helped get us there. You are part of this success and will be part of the momentum we hopefully create going forward.
I really do think that this is netball’s time and I have never felt a togetherness quite like it – everyone is so connected, from all my Roses teammates to those playing netball every Monday night at their local Netball Now sessions or the under 10s playing in school.
Just never forget… It’s us. It’s now!
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