The Vitality Roses have tonight been crowned Team of the Year at the Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards for the second time in a row.
A number of the England squad joined sporting stars from across the country at the glittering awards ceremony in London, which each year celebrates the achievements of inspirational female athletes and coaches.
The Vitality Roses’ nomination came after the team claimed bronze at the Vitality Netball World Cup in July, which was held in Liverpool and labelled the most successful Netball World Cup to date.
The Team of the Year Award, which was open to a public vote, saw the Vitality Roses go up against stiff competition with Britain’s modern pentathlon squad, Europe’s Solheim Cup golf team, England Rugby Union team, sailors Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre, and the Lionesses being named amongst the nominees.
Natalie Panagarry who represented her country during the Vitality Netball World Cup and attended the awards, said: “We are honoured to receive this award and are grateful to everyone who voted for the Vitality Roses. We received such phenomenal support throughout our World Cup campaign and whilst we didn’t come away with the colour we were gunning for we had an unforgettable experience and have seen the profile of netball grow massively. We hope that the journey we went on earlier this year inspires more people to get active and play this wonderful sport. This award truly is the icing on the cake after an already exceptional year.”
In addition to the Vitality Roses’ success, their Assistant Coach Colette Thomson was also recognised for her sporting success as she bagged the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
Colette, who was honored in the Queen’s list of MBE’s in 2015, is known for her determination and passion for the sport and has been successful in her career as both a player and a coach.
Since starting out as a part of the senior national coaching set up in 2011, Colette has made a huge impact on the sport. She was a part of the coaching team that saw England deliver gold at the 2011 World Netball Series, and is more recently known for helping the Vitality Roses on their journey to the podium at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and again on their way to a home World Cup earlier this year.
Vitality Rose and Vitality Netball World Cup bronze medalist, Fran Williams commented on her time working with Colette: “Colette is so good to have around in the camp environment. She definitely deserves to be nominated for this award, she adds such fun to the sessions and she’s always got great tips and tricks to teach us. Her knowledge of the game and how long she’s been involved in the sport just speaks volumes.”
Upon receiving the award Colette said: “Wow, I am delighted to be given this Lifetime Achievement Award. I have had the privilege of working with many talented athletes throughout my time at England Netball and it is an honour to have been able to support them throughout their careers so far. I am so passionate about this sport so it’s wonderful to be recognised for my contribution to netball. Congratulations to all the amazing athletes and coaches that have also been celebrated tonight.”
The Vitality Roses are currently preparing for an upcoming test series against South Africa, with the ongoing support of Colette and the performance team, which runs from 29 November – 1 December and will be streamed live via Sky Sports.