The Maynard in Exeter becomes latest pathway partner in Blue & Gold’s Academy Development Centre for South West
This move comes just weeks after Hartpury College in Gloucestershire also became a new ADC in a pathway designed to nurture the next generation of talented athletes.
The Maynard already has a famous netballing ‘old-girl’ in Jo Vann, the current Team Bath Head Coach who went on to develop with the Blue & Gold into an international player with England.
Team Bath franchise manager Alicia John said: “As we move into our fourth year and the next phase of development of our academy programme, we are incredibly excited to have Jo’s former school on board. As like-minded organisations, we are excited to build on that historical connection to develop a strong performance culture that will both nurture and challenge Blue & Gold stars of the future.”
Team Bath Netball Academy Manager Natalie Roddy added: “This is a fantastic and energising development for students who might not have experienced a performance environment before. They will be able to tap into our renowned facilities and plenty of expert resources as they pursue their development in our sport.”
“The Maynard has an excellent netball programme with proven success at National Schools at U14, U16 & U18 levels over the past few years,” said Catherine Gabbitass, Director of Sport at the school. “We both have an athlete-centred ethos and this makes our collaboration as organisations so special. We are really excited about the potential of this and we look forward to welcoming some of the region’s top players to The Maynard.”
U18 players joining the Academy Development Centre at The Maynard, where there are top-flight facilities and a performance environment including a new Fitness Suite, an indoor Netball Hall and double-courts outdoors, have the opportunity to trial for places into Team Bath U17 or U19 Academy squads.
Mrs Gabbitass added: “The great thing is that this is an extension of a continuing atmosphere of collaboration between Bath and The Maynard to the good of netballers themselves. It will open up significant opportunities and will help us to develop together future leading players.
“Players will also be able to access visits to Team Bath to feel what it’s like to work with Superleague coaches and international athletes like Eboni Usoro-Brown, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and Imogen Allison.”
Sandra Wood – Head of Netball at The Maynard and herself a former England Netballer, now Chairman of Devon Schools’ Netball Association – added: “We’re absolutely delighted to have strengthened our already successful association with Team Bath. As a new base for a Team Bath Netball ADC, we look forward to providing opportunities for our students looking to benefit from our strong links with major sports organisations, as players or team support staff, such as coaches, analysts or physiotherapists.”
At The Maynard, there have been several England Netball talent pathway players and recent individual honours for the school include Lauren Wood, India Leatham, Annie Grief and Natalie Charity, all of whom are part of the Team Bath Pathway.
Team Bath Netball, meanwhile, are five-times Superleague Champions and were heading the table when this year’s Superleague was interrupted by Covid-19. More than 100 players have emerged from the South West franchise to take full or age-group international honours in the past three decades.
Sarah Dunn, Headmistress at The Maynard, is delighted by the new collaboration: “It has been such an exciting time for us and this fantastic new association comes on the back of our recently announced sponsorship of the newly-formed Exeter Chiefs Women’s team.
“Sport is very much at the core of what we do and we understand fully the link between mental and physical wellbeing. We always offer a full range of clubs and activities to suit all ages and abilities and it is just wonderful to cater for performance development athletes that much further through this brilliant collaboration with Team Bath.”