Wednesday, 08 March 2017
Tracey Neville, England Netball Head Coach, was among the spectators who watched the Severn Stars’ win their first home match at the University of Worcester Arena.
Ms Neville, herself a former England netball international and sister of former England and Manchester United footballers Gary and Phil Neville, witnessed the Severn Stars earn their first victory, beating Celtic Dragons 53 – 46 on Friday, March 3.
She praised the Club, a partnership between the Universities of Worcester and Gloucestershire, and the way it had unified all the netball expertise and talent in the whole region and given thousands of young netball players a top quality home team by which to be inspired.
Ms Neville also praised the team’s use of local talent alongside England international players.
“The way they’re trying to develop and bring on home-grown talent, with that sprinkle of Worcester and Gloucester players, is always really encouraging from a national perspective,” she said.
“They’re really looking at the holistic approach, how they can create this as a business, how they can create this as a sport and progress women’s sport.”
She said Severn Stars provided a goal for local talent.
“Having played in Gloucester – I played three years of club netball when I was at university - I know the passion that is driven by the home-grown coaches here,” she said.
“I have played for West Midlands as well and some of the best England players, some of the best coaches, have actually come through this system.
“There is the knowledge, the intellect, the game sense and the winners here, but they needed something to unify that.
“It’s really hard when you haven’t got an outcome or outlook. I think Severn Stars is that outcome now and that enables those underneath to be able to generate interest in netball, gain ambassadors and gain an affiliation to something.”
She also praised the Arena’s facilities, in particular its accessibility to all.
University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green, said: “We were delighted to welcome Tracey Neville to the University of Worcester Arena and show her what we are doing in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire and the whole netball family in the Three Counties and beyond.
“We were all delighted that the Severn Stars' very first home game was so exciting and resulted in our first Superleague win. We are sure that it will be the first of many and look forward to welcoming Team Bath on Saturday March 11 at the University of Worcester Arena.
“The University of Worcester Arena has already hosted two Netball Superleague finals and several England internationals as well as many school, national and international age-level tournaments. We are sure that netball is going to find a very happy home here just as basketball already does.”
Amongst other prominent sports people to be at the Severn Stars’ opening match were Ashley Giles, the former England cricketer and Ashes winner, who is a Board member for England Netball, and Craig Gillies, the most capped player ever for the Worcester Warriors.