The Severn Stars, Worcester’s newest professional sports club, has signed a further two players as it builds towards its first season in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
You can read their full press realease below:
The Club, a franchise between the Universities of Worcester and Gloucestershire, has signed Becky Oatley and Sophie Carter, who both currently play in the Superleague.
Becky, of Cardiff, played last year in the Superleague for Celtic Dragons while Sophie, of Hertfordshire, has been with last year’s Superleague semi-finalists, the Hertfordshire Mavericks, since 2014.
Thirty-one-year-old Becky, who has three caps for Wales, said: “I’m delighted to be joining Severn Stars. The coaching set-up, environment and ethos they are creating is really exciting.
“I’m really proud and humbled to be a part of it.”
Mid-court player Sophie, 20, has played for the England under-19s.
She said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Severn Stars this season. I think the prospect of being a part of something brand new is really exciting as we can establish our culture and environment from the start.
“I have confidence that the coaching line up will be able to help build a really strong team as well as personally helping me to develop as a player.
“I know I’ll learn a lot from the players around me and I cannot wait for pre-season to get started.”
This follows the recent signings of England trio Eleanor Cardwell, Jodie Gibson and Laura Malcolm.
Joint Director of Netball for the Severn Stars, Pamela Cookey, said: “I’m very excited with how the team is shaping up. Sophie is a young, intelligent midcourter itching to show what she can do. Becky Oatley was sharp with good game sense at Dragons last season.”
Head coach Mo’onia Gerrard said: “Rebecca Oatley, having experienced the Superleague competition with the Dragons, will give the team an edge and I like that she is a ‘gutsy’ player. Sophie Carter, who joins us from Mavericks, is also a strong player who has huge potential to continue to develop.”
University of Worcester third year student Rebecca Tildesley and Lauren Brooks join Oatley and Carter alongside Cardwell, Gibson and Malcolm.
Rebecca, 20, lives at home in Tipton, near Dudley, but for the last two years lived in St John’s, Worcester while continuing her BSc Sports Therapy degree studies.
She is a training partner for Loughborough Lightning and has played for the England under 17 and under 21 teams and Staffordshire County.
Rebecca has played for a variety of Midlands clubs and Huccelcote Netball, in Gloucestershire, where she still currently plays alongside twin sister Laura.
She said: “I am so delighted to have been picked for Severn Stars.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m excited to be a part of the family and the experience that lies ahead. I cannot wait to improve as a player and learn from the best.
Rebecca, who plays in attack, said a professional netball team for the area was a positive step.
“It’s amazing that we finally have a Superleague franchise right on our doorstep, it opens up new experiences for a netballer,” she added.
“It was difficult before as you had to travel a distance to get to a Superleague franchise. Now it’s on your doorstep and will promote the Worcester area and hopefully bring people to the franchise and to play netball in the local area.”
Lauren, 22, from Brockworth, Gloucester, has played for the England under-17s and under-19s and the University of Bath BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) 1st team in 2012/2013.
She is returning to netball after two years away with a back injury.
Mid-court player Lauren said: “I’m absolutely delighted. As a local player it’s an honour to be a part of this brand new franchise.
“I have been coached by many good coaches over the years and moving forwards I am really looking forward to seeing the influence Mo’onia will have on the Severn Stars and me as an individual.
“I feel very fortunate to be making a comeback and privileged to be a part of Severn Stars where I can train and play at this level.”
She said she hoped that Severn Stars would raise netball standards and its popularity in the area.
“Severn Stars located in the area will attract further good players and coaches and this can only be good for netball in the area,” she said.
“It’s a fantastic new goal for young players to aim for.”
Joint Director of Netball for the Severn Stars, Pamela Cookey, said: “Becky is showing something special in that shooting circle and Lauren has great vision in the mid court. I look forward to seeing it transferred into the Superleague setting and all flourish further under Mo’onia.”
Head coach Mo’onia Gerrard said: “It has always been a priority of mine to include local talent in our squad and Lauren Brooks, following a year out due to injury, showed great prowess and has a great future ahead of her. Rebecca Tildesley is also a local player, and at only 20, shows great confidence for her age.”