Loughborough University: Lightning stars selected for Vitality Roses 2022-23 Programme

Six Loughborough Lightning players have been included in the latest 24-strong England Netball programme.

Ella Clarke, Beth Cobden, Alice Harvey, Hannah Joseph, Nat Panagarry, and Francesca Williams have all been called up to Jess Thirlby’s senior squad ahead of the 2022-23 international season.

The Vitality Roses programme runs over 12 months and is made up of UK-based training camps and competitive opportunities at home and overseas, as well as in-club support for the players during the domestic seasons.

Players have been selected following a rigorous process that sees all of their domestic and international performances assessed by the team of England Netball selectors.

Since its inception in 2016, the full-time programme has seen significant progress made in recent times, with the Vitality Roses winning the Commonwealth Games in 2018, having enjoyed their most successful international season in 2021 and now regularly challenging the world’s number one and two ranked nations in Australia and New Zealand.

Jess Thirlby, England Netball’s Head Coach, said: “The quality of athletes selected into the Roses programme makes for an exciting year as we head towards Birmingham and also journey towards the World Cup in Cape Town in 2023.

“Not only do we see a number of our hugely experienced and familiar names retain their places in an increasingly competitive programme, but also new talent being acknowledged for their continued rise within their domestic competitions.”

A further three Lightning players – Emma Bowen, Suzie Liverseidge, and Emma Thacker – have also been named in an enhanced 16-strong Future Roses programme which this year has been designed with the specific objective of preparing a cohort of athletes to be ‘Roses-ready’ after the 2023 Netball World Cup.

The programme seeks to maximise players’ preparation and conditioning and therefore develop them towards the Roses programme through exposure to high level training and international match play experience.

Thirlby added:

“To see athletes also graduate from our Future Roses programme and be elevated into the Roses for the first time is testament that our systems are working well, and we look forward to supporting those athletes who are transitioning.

“A lot has been said about the strength and depth we are currently fortunate to have available to us and we’ve worked hard to uncover that over the last few years.

“Beyond Roses, this depth is reflected in the exciting Futures group for whom we have selected and it’s really positive that we have increased the number of athletes we can offer places to this year.

“Capturing the talent that are showing up as having real potential to become Roses in the future and helping to support, harness and accelerate that talent now bodes well for the years to come and in our quest for sustained and repeated success on an international stage.

“I want to thank and congratulate all of the athletes on their inclusion, the domestic clubs both home and overseas and our Roses Academy for helping to allow these athletes to shine.

“Finally, to have 100% take up of the offers made to athletes for this upcoming year speaks to the desire of people wanting to be a part of it and represent the Roses as well as the culture and environment that has strengthened over the last few years. I can’t wait to get started.”

The Future Roses programme also supports those players with dual careers, either undergoing full time education or working alongside a commitment to developing as a player within the Roses set up.

The Vitality Netball Superleague season will conclude on Sunday 5 June where the top four sides will come together for a third place play off and the Grand Final where we’ll learn who will be crowned champions for 2022.

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