‘I am delighted to be staying with Team Bath and excited for the challenge ahead’
Last Updated: 22/05/19 1:58pm
Anna Stembridge has recommitted to the Vitality Netball Superleague franchise, Team Bath in an “enhanced Superleague head coach” role.
Stembridge has worked in conjunction with Jess Thirlby at the franchise since 2015. However, Thirlby is leaving the team this summer after 20 years there as a player and coach.
“I am delighted to be staying with Team Bath and excited for the challenge ahead,” said Stembridge, who will continue to oversee the coaching and development of the Superleague squad.
“Jess and I have worked so closely together over so many years and I will miss her.
“It is certainly going to feel strange at first without her, but I am excited by the challenge and looking forward to writing a new chapter for the Blue & Gold.”
Stembridge, a Wales international netballer herself, started her coaching career back in 2005 with Celtic Dragons. She moved to Team Bath in 2008 and alongside Thirlby led the franchise to Superleague titles in 2009 and 2010.
“It’s incredibly good news that Anna will be remaining at Team Bath,” said Team Bath co-captain Serena Guthrie.
“I’ve known her for a long time and she’s a really great coach and people person. In my opinion, those are exactly the right ingredients that you need in a high-performance environment.
“She understands people and is someone who has that flexibility and trust with her players, in order to let them be human as well. Because of that, Anna has built an amazing trust between the players and herself, and the girls want to play for her.”
This season Team Bath finished fourth at the end of the regular season, however, missed out on Grand Final place after 57-54 defeat at the hands of the eventual champions, Manchester Thunder in the last four.
The team were able to finish on a high, though. A 62-56 victory over Loughborough Lightning at the Copper Box Arena ensured that third-place belonged to them.
“There was plenty to be proud of on and off court this season, and I am looking forward to building on the improvements we have made while also strengthening the core values of the Blue & Gold philosophy we have developed over the years,” added Stembridge, who is currently undertaking a PhD in Sports Coaching.
“The senior players have led by example and youngsters like Imogen Allison, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and Abi Robson have all emerged as future leaders. The players have demanded a high standard from themselves and their team-mates, and they have delivered.
“I’m excited to see where we can go from here and planning is already well under way for next season. I can’t wait to get going again.”
The University of Bath are in the process of appointing a ‘netball head coach’, who will lead on all aspects of their performance pathway from the U15s through up to the Superleague squad.
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