Premier League legends lend support to Manchester netball

By Joseph Fitzpatrick

Premier League legends Paul Scholes and Phil Neville have lent their support to Manchester Superleague netball team, Northern Thunder, Mancunian Matters can reveal.

Thunder head coach, Tracey Neville, sister of Gary and Phil told MM that she is hoping that both footballers will be the Wright Robinson Sports Arena for the opening game of the Superleague season.

She said: “We’re having a family day on our first game of the season and obviously Phillip’s [Neville] little sister plays netball and Paul’s [Scholes] little daughter is a very, very good netballer as well so hopefully they’ll come down and support us and up the media attention for our sport.”  

Thunder’s Emma Dovey, Sara Bayman, and Laura Malcolm were all part of the England team that won the Fast Net World Championships last week and Neville, who was one of England’s assistant coaches, hopes this international experience will help her team reach the Grand Final in the upcoming Superleague season: “The experience they got from England last weekend was phenomenal,” she added.

“Obviously winning the gold medal, it’s something that England have never done and to be part of the history and be a part of that squad is something that they can only build on.

“When you’ve experienced playing at that level and playing at that sort of competition should make NSL [Superleague] feel easy in respect to the players they were up against last weekend.

“I’m sure they learned a lot from that experience, and so did I as a coach and hopefully they’ll take that it into the new season.

“Hopefully this year we can put in the right tactical training so that we can actually reach the Grand Final.”

Neville believes Fast Net will become an ever-increasing fixture on the netball calendar, she said: “We’ve got a preseason competition with Fast Net and anyone who saw the final last week [will know] it’s not necessary the best team that wins it’s who can get the big shots in and it’s such an attractive sport.

“Although it was touch and go against New Zealand we were the ones who sunk the big shots and they had no chance of catching us. You just need a little bit of luck and a little bit of confidence from your shooters and it can just turn the game around.

“When there’s only one point on a goal it’s more on your ability to play the game, but in Fast Net anything can happen and it’s really exciting to know that a game can change just like that.”

“We don’t take anything for granted but we have got a couple of big shooters and hopefully they’ll pull it off and get us down to that final in Surrey.”

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