Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Worcester’s new professional netball team has signed up a final five players to complete its line-up ahead of the debut season in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Severn Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire, has added two international players Afeisha Noel, from Trinidad and Tobago, and Josie Janz-Dawson, from Australia, to the squad.
They are joined by University of Worcester student Iona Darroch and Superleague players Lucy Richardson and Rachel Sweet.
Iona, 18, of Handforth Cheshire, in her first year studying illustration, was in the Manchester Thunder Netball Performance League squad and is part of the England Under 21s long squad.
“I’m so excited. It’s a great opportunity for me to develop as a player,” she said.
“I can’t wait to be coached by Mo’onia, Sam and Pam and learn from the other players on the team and see how they influence my performance.”
Defensive player Josie Janz-Dawson, of Perth, has played with Perth-based West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championship, the premier netball league for Australia and New Zealand, for the last nine years.
“I think we will have the ability to blend a few playing styles together and I'm really looking forward to learning more from Mo'onia Gerrard.” said the 28-year-old.
Afeisha, 30, has been a fixture of her national team since 2011 and played in the Netball World Cup last year and Commonwealth Games in 2013.
Rachel, who played in her first Superleague season for Loughborough Lightning last year, grew up in Worcester and has played for the county and then for Worcester Reds.
The 31-year-old defensive player, of Bromsgrove, said: "I'm really excited to be playing for Severn Stars this year and representing my home county through this new franchise.
“Everyone is extremely motivated and I can't wait to be part of what is set to be a great start to an amazing journey for the franchise."
Lucy, of Yorkshire, has played for Superleague side Yorkshire Jets since 2012 and won two BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) championships with Leeds Beckett University.
The 22-year-old said: “The set up at Stars is so exciting and I am over the moon to be involved in one of the new franchises and to have the opportunity to be coached by some world class coaches and play or train with some amazing players.”
Head coach Mo’onia Gerrard said: “We have secured some great experienced players for the Severn Stars roster for 2017. They have the right attitude to build this club in the right direction.
“Josie Janz having played for West Coast Fever in the ANZ championship for eight plus years will help strengthen the Stars team on and off the court, followed by Afeisha Noel who was very strong in her World Cup campaign for Trinidad & Tobago in 2015.
“Lucy Richardson is a fierce competitor and her positive attitude is infectious.
“Iona Darroch is an up and coming England 21s prospect and has some great skills and is one to watch in the future.
“Rachel Sweet being a Worcester local has earned her spot by her sheer determination and experience as a leader for the Reds, which will help steer the Stars in the right direction.”
University of Worcester student Iona Darroch
Player Josie Janz-Dawson in action, credit Dave Callow
Player Rachel Sweet in action, credit Press Association