PLENTY has changed since Leeds student Lauren Potter joined Leeds Carnegie netball team back as a 14-year-old junior in 2007.
For one, her team is now called Yorkshire Jets and for two the popularity of the sport has transformed. With their daughter suddenly on TV, mum Catherine and dad David even had to fork out for Sky Sports.
But the ascendancy to club captain is giving priceless enjoyment to Potter and her family, with the 22-year-old “honoured” to be leading the Jets into Super League 2015.
Sheffield-born University of Leeds student Potter will captain coach Anna Carter’s Jets for the second successive season, starting a week on Friday at home to Loughborough Lightning in Sheffield. And that will mean Kirkstall-based Potter taking the opposite journey to the one she took as a teenager when dad David used to drive her twice a week from her Ranmoor home in Sheffield to train with the Jets juniors – then Leeds Carnegie – after school.
Nearly a decade on, the former Sheffield Girls’ High School pupil has represented her country and is captain of one of the most exciting clubs in Super League.
Yet the medical student still remembers those early beginnings and there won’t be many prouder captains than Potter when Super League 2015 begins in two weeks’ time.
Potter told the
“I’ve been with the team from the off and it means so much to me that the team does well and that the region does well. Yorkshire Jets is the optimum level of netball within Yorkshire and there’s so many girls that are inspired by it. We do camps and academies with them and because I have come all the way up through that route I know what those girls are going through. To represent that means a lot.
“The game has really grown since I started when it was quite low profile really. With the crowd you’d have a row of parents and your friends but now our games can be sell outs – about 700 people, and we’re on Sky Sports regularly. Things have changed!”
Playing netball actually began later than it might have done for Potter who was more into football and athletics in her early school years at Mylnhurst Primary. But netball-mad teacher Miss Callow began a love affair with a new sport in Year 5 – taking Potter to Sheffield Stormers and Sheffield Concord to South Yorkshire, Yorkshire and then ultimately England.
The defender – who has also played for Leeds Athletic – was 15 when introduced to the England junior set-up but recently chose to shelve her national ambitions due to her dedication to studying medicine and long term aspirations of becoming a doctor.
Living in Leeds with boyfriend Mike who plays for West Park rugby, the Jets captain works part time for Meanwood Medical Practice whilst in her fourth year at university studying ‘sports science in relation to medicine’ – following dad David who is an orthopaedic shoulder surgeon.
Potter’s 20-year-old sister and fellow University Of Leeds student Amy has also played for the Jets and is following her mum’s lead and training to be a teacher. But the whole family are united in cheering for lift-off for Potter’s Jets – and unlike the early days mum and dad can now watch their eldest daughter live on Sky.
Potter laughed: “The Sky coverage began about three years ago and we never had Sky Sports at home then. We loved sport as a family but we were always so busy going to the games. But I remember mum and dad had to finally get round to getting the Sky Sports package because I was going to be on TV! It was very exciting and before they got it one of dad’s work colleagues used to record it on a DVD.
“Mum and dad will probably be expecting some money back for Sky in the future, bless them, but they have been so supportive. And mum certainly made the most of it over Christmas with all the Christmas films!”