Blue & Gold quartet named in England Netball Vitality Roses programme for build up to Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Team Bath Netball quartet Imogen Allison, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Layla Guscoth and Serena Guthrie have today been named in the England Netball Vitality Roses programme for a crucial 2021-22 international season building up to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Allison, Guscoth and University of Bath sporting scholar Drakeford-Lewis will be looking to stake their claims to make their Commonwealth debuts, while Guthrie – who helped the Roses to a historic first title triumph in 2018 – is in line to compete at her third Games next summer.
All four have been part of the full-time Roses programme during the 2020-21 season, with Sport & Exercise Science graduate Allison having made her senior England debut and Guthrie winning her 100th cap during October’s Test Series in New Zealand.
Former Blue & Gold stars Stacey Francis-Bayman and Geva Mentor, who both currently play in Australia, are also in the 24-strong squad for a vital 12-month preparation period that will feature a combination of UK-based training camps and competitive opportunities at home and abroad before the Commonwealth Games begin in July 2022.
Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby, who previously held that role at Team Bath, said: “I am excited about this cohort of athletes and what each one of them brings to the table.
“The next 12 months will be vital in our preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, it’s going to be a really exciting international season for this squad and for all the Vitality Roses fans.”
In addition to those selected today for the Vitality Roses programme, all eligible athletes will continue to be observed during the Vitality Superleague season and considered for future inclusion in the programme or competition squads.
Allison, Drakeford-Lewis, Guscoth and Guthrie are all playing key roles domestically for Haines Watts-sponsored Team Bath, who currently sit top of the 2021 Vitality Superleague table after 14 wins from 15 matches. They will be looking to secure their place in the end-of-season play-offs when they take on Surrey Storm on Sunday, 16th May at London’s Copper Box Arena (2pm centre-pass).