Vitality Netball Superleague: Anna Stembridge pleased with Team Bath Netball’s pre-season return

Anna Stembridge says Team Bath Netball’s first match against outside opposition in nine months ticked nearly all of the boxes, as their preparations for the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague season continue.

The forthcoming season is scheduled to start in February 2021 and with the teams being classed as elite, they are able to continue training together despite the current restrictions in place in England.

At the University of Bath Founders Hall, both Team Bath Netball and Saracens Mavericks enjoyed a welcome return to the court having seen their seasons cut back in March.

The home side, who had looked like real title contenders earlier in the year, enjoyed a close contest with their rivals, before eventually prevailing 68-61.

“I was so pleased with how the day went, both as an event and how competitive the match was,” Stembridge said.

“To see what we have been working on in training come to fruition is always very pleasing, especially when we haven’t faced outside opposition in nine months.

“Both teams really utilised their full squad, trying out various combinations and gaining valuable court-time.

“The fact the scoreline stayed so tight throughout, even when there were changes, made it even better and showed just how well-fought the game was.

A lot of things that I wanted to get from the game were ticked off, the main one being getting players out on court for more than one or two quarters against top-quality opposition.

Anna Stembridge (Image Credit: Clare Green for Matchtight)

“Hannah Passmore, for example, was up against Razia Quashie for two quarters and did really well against someone who was one of England’s standouts. To see Hannah’s game develop, and adapt from the first quarter to the second, was really encouraging.

“Kirsty Harris also got to play for three quarters against one of the strongest defences in the Superleague and demonstrate what strengths she can already bring to our game.

“You cannot underestimate the value of playing against that calibre of opposition.”

Team Bath’s pre-season build-up continues this weekend when they stage a second inter-club match of the month between the Blues and the Golds. Australian shooter Kim Commane could make an appearance after flying back into the country.

“It’s great to have Kim back with us and the whole squad together,” Stembridge added. “She has been playing Premier League netball for a club in Sydney while back in Australia and her fitness levels are good, so we’ll see how she does in training this week.

“We only have this month together as a full squad before the England players go back on international duty in January, so it is a critical period and one we need to get the most out of.”

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