Meet the Vitality Roses set to travel to South Africa

England Netball has revealed the names of 14 athletes, including two training partners, who will travel to face the South Africa SPAR Proteas in a three-match test series in a few weeks.

Jess Thirlby, Head Coach of the Vitality Roses, and the team will meet the South African side on court from 29 November – 1 December, which will be the first time they have played one another since the Vitality Netball World Cup in July.

The world number three team will go head-to-head with the SPAR Proteas at the Velodrome in Cape Town on 29th November, 30th November and 1st December.

It will be the first time that the two sides will meet following their battle for bronze at the Vitality Netball World Cup in July, which saw the Roses come out on top and secure a place on the podium.

Thirlby has selected a 14-strong squad for the series, which will be shown live on Sky Sports, and here’s an intro to the players set to make the trip…


14 Across. Strikes at lightning speed – Natalie PanagarryNat P HS

Natalie Panagarry captained Loughborough Lightning to two consecutive Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Finals in 2017 and 2018. The speedy midcourter was part of the bronze medal-winning Vitality Netball World Cup team in 2019.

DOB: 27/12/1990

Position(s): Centre, Wing Defence

Club: Loughborough Lightning

Height: 170cm

Caps: 14


20 Across. Shines like the Blackpool Illuminations – Eleanor CardwellCardwell

Originating from Blackpool, the 24-year old shooter was key to securing victory for Manchester Thunder in the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final against Wasps when she came on in the final minutes.

DOB: 11/11/1994

Position(s): Goal Shooter, Goal Attack

Club: Manchester Thunder

Height: 188cm

Caps: 20


4 Across. Juggling life’s responsibilities – Gabby MarshallGabby HS

You’ll often find this Vitality Rose juggling as part of her pre-match warm-up. She made her debut at Netball Europe in 2017 and returns to the England set-up having been ruled out by injury in the 2018/19 season.

DOB: 09/04/1996

Position(s): Centre, Wing Defence

Club: Saracens Mavericks

Height: 174cm

Caps: 6


21 Across. Don’t challenge her to a dance-off – Laura Malcolm Malcolm Fun

Laura Malcolm showed she’s got all the moves after gate-crashing the Vitality Netball Superleague mascots’ dance-off at the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship in October. The midcourter also lists ‘doing the Worm’ as her party trick.

DOB: 20/05/1991

Position(s): Centre, Wing Defence, Wing Attack

Club: Manchester Thunder

Height: 175cm

Caps: 25


66 Across. Guess who’s back… – Stacey Francis stacey

After making her international debut in 2007, Stacey Francis has won 66 caps to date. Plying her trade for West Coast Fever in Suncorp Super Netball, the defender returns via the P3 route after trialing for the highly-anticipated international series.

DOB: 09/12/1992

Position(s): Goal Defence, Wing Defence

Club: West Coast Fever

Height: 180cm

Caps: 66


43 Across. A modern-day Lionel Logue – Natalie HaythornthwaiteNat H HS

Lionel Logue (1880-1953) was a speech and language therapist who successfully treated King George VI, who had a pronounced stammer. Vitality Rose Natalie Haythornthwaite studied to become a speech and language therapist at Leeds Beckett University and has done some voluntary work in that field alongside netball.

DOB: 09/12/1992

Position(s): Wing Attack, Goal Attack

Club: New South Wales Swifts

Height: 174cm

Caps: 43


6b Across. Her family’s got hattitude – George Fisher Georgie HS

George Fisher’s family follow her around the country at international and Vitality Netball Superleague level, where she represents Saracens Mavericks. The goal shooter’s dad can often be picked out the crowd by his distinctive hats.

DOB: 30/09/1998

Position(s): Goal Attack, Goal Shooter

Club: Saracens Mavericks

Height: 189cm

Caps: 6


6c Across. Adding a splash of Caribbean flavour – Raz Quashie Razia HS

One thing netball fans may not know about Raz Quashie is that she comes from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She is playing her fourth season with Saracens Mavericks and made her senior international debut in Jamaica in 2018.

DOB: 16/09/1997

Position(s): Goal Keeper, Goal Defence

Club: Saracens Mavericks

Height: 186cm

Caps: 6


1 Down. Ace, ace, baby – Sophie Drakeford-Lewis SOPHIE_DRAKEFORD-LEWIS_SEDBERGH_014

If she wasn’t a netballer, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis would be a tennis player. The 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague Young Player of the Year enjoyed numerous successes in the sport at an early age, including being crowned Road to Wimbledon 2013 girls’ champion.

DOB: 10/12/1998

Position(s): Goal Attack, Wing Attack

Club: Team Bath

Height: 179cm

Caps: 1


6a Down. A ray of sunshine – Summer Artman Summer HS

Summer Artman made her Vitality Roses debut against Northern Ireland at the Netball Europe Open Championships in 2017. In the team’s recent Great British Bake Off challenge, she designed her biscuit to reflect the joy and happiness that netball brings people and that she would also like to bring to the team.

DOB: 27/04/1997

Club: Represented Team Bath in 2019 but is yet to announce where she’ll be playing next season

Height: 188cm

Caps: 4


64 Down. Flipping onto court – Kadeen Corbin Kadeen HS

Kadeen Corbin has made acrobatic stunts her trademark, most notably after the Vitality Roses stunned home favourites Australia to win a historic gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Despite not being a part of the full-time Roses programme, she has made herself available via the P3 route.

DOB: 27/11/1991

Position(s): Goal Shooter, Goal Attack

Club: Saracens Mavericks

Height: 178cm

Caps: 64


1 Down. Flying into action – Kate Shimmin Kate

Kate Shimmin qualifies to play for the Vitality Roses due to dual-citizenship. The Adelaide Thunderbird represented Australia at U21 level as well as the senior side at the Fast5 International Series in 2014 and 2016.

DOB: 13/02/1992

Position(s): Goal Keeper, Goal Defence

Club: Adelaide Thunderbirds

Height: 185cm

Caps: 0


8 Down. She’s a sound investment – Fran Williams Fran HS

Fran Williams balances her netball career with studying economics at the University of Birmingham. The Wasps Netball defender enjoyed a whirlwind 12 months after making her debut against Uganda She was then selected for the Vitality Netball World Cup and was the youngest member of the squad.

DOB: 23/12/1997

Position(s): Goal Defence, Wing Defence

Club: Wasps Netball

Height: 183cm

Caps: 8


169 Down. Counting up, not slowing down – Jade Clarke Jade HS

Jade Clarke is the Vitality Roses’ most-capped player and is fast-approaching her 170th cap for her country. The experienced mid-courter has played in five Vitality Netball World Cups and four Commonwealth Games. Despite not being a part of the full-time Roses programme, she has made herself available via the P3 route.

DOB: 17/10/1983

Position(s): Wing Defence, Centre

Club: Wasps Netball

Height: 174cm

Caps: 169


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