For as long as I can remember Bath has been the hub of England netball.
I can even recollect the England Junior coach handing out Bath University flyers to us at an England camp at the tender age of 15! Unsurprisingly, Team Bath has the most successful track record in the history of Superleague, winning five out of the nine series, and Yorkshire Jets have never ever defeated them.
That was until Friday night, when Yorkshire Jets triumphed over Team Bath 54-51, much to the shock of the crowd made up almost completely of Bath fans!
I would imagine they were particularly stunned at the start of the match when we scored 10 goals before Bath even scored their first goal, something unheard of in Superleague netball.
I must say I was a little flabbergasted myself! Bath did eventually manage to find the net but Jets finished the first quarter with a strong seven-goal lead.
Bath attempted a comeback in the second quarter, their defence desperately using any means possible to stop the ball getting to our shooters – netball can definitely be confirmed as a contact sport!
I often feel sorry for Timmy as the umpires seem to think that just because she’s tall and strong they can just leave her to it. I was impressed that despite this she kept her cool and contributed to a 25-23 lead at half-time.
The second half provided end-to-end action with Team Bath repeatedly calling time-outs and their coach, Jess Garland, desperately trying lots of different combinations, in a bid to encourage her team to take some sort of control.
It didn’t matter which seven Bath players were on the court though as we kept our heads and pushed on, creating a five-goal lead going into the last quarter.
Bath did everything in their power to stop our centre passes getting to goal but it was all a little too late and the final whistle was greeted by our cheers of delight!
One of the goal attacks I played against on Friday was Rachel Shaw. I have played alongside Rachel for many years both in Junior England Teams and at Yorkshire Jets before she moved down South. Rachel is sister to Jess Shaw, who currently plays for the Yorkshire Jets team, and both sisters have done incredibly well to be on court, as they have both had anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions in their knees.
Rachel’s rehab in particular was very challenging as she re-ruptured her ACL and so had to have the surgery again as well as coping with ongoing problems with her ankle. Taking all of this into consideration, I am amazed that Rachel has managed to return to the Superleague court but I am truly delighted for her.
Unfortunately, injuries in netball are commonplace, particularly to the ankle and knee.
My degree, Sports Science in relation to medicine, has provided a really interesting insight into the other side of these injuries.
Sports psychology lecturers have discussed the issues that many athletes face due to exercise addiction; pushing themselves to over train despite their bodies’ desperate cries for rest. The biomechanics behind the stop-start nature of netball inevitably results in the generation of micro-damage in the bones, tendons and ligaments through overloading.
My particular interest, however, is the physiology behind injuries.
For example, we women are much more likely to develop stress fractures due to a phenomenon known as the female athlete triad.
This is the three-way link between lower oestrogen levels, disordered eating and weaknesses in the bone. Men always have it so easy!
Fortunately, so far we are all injury-free (touch wood!) and looking in great shape.
Our next match, against Mavericks, isn’t until Monday so we’ve managed to get in some valuable rest and high quality training.
We are looking forward to travelling to Huddersfield and competing live on Sky Sports, so tune in at 7.45pm for some exciting action.