Lightning cohort selected for Vitality Roses

Beth Cobden in action

Beth Cobden is one of four Lightning players selected in the Vitality Roses programme ahead of the 2021-22 international season. Image: Ben Lumley photography.

England Netball has revealed the names of the athletes selected for the Vitality Roses programme ahead of the 2021-22 international season – with four Lightning players included in the squad.

Beth Cobden, Hannah Joseph, Natalie Panagarry, and Ella Clark have all been selected in the side that culminates prior to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham where the Vitality Roses will be defending their historic gold medal from the last Games.

Loughborough University student Vicki Oyesola has also been called up to the 24-player squad as have Loughborough alumnae Jo Harten and Jade Clarke. 

Jess Thirlby, Vitality Roses Head Coach, commented:

“We are excited to be announcing the names of the players who have gained a spot in the 2021-22 Vitality Roses programme.

“With a limited number of spaces available in the full-time Roses programme each year and a growing pool of talent in England, competition for spots in the team is tighter than ever. It is brilliant to have so much talent to choose from, however it makes our jobs extremely difficult when it comes to selection.

“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.”

Of the 24 players selected, 17 are UK-based athletes playing their domestic netball at Vitality Netball Superleague clubs:

Serena Guthrie, Vicki Oyesola, Razia Quashie, Imogen Allison, Gabriella Marshall, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Natalie Panagarry, Beth Cobden, Francesca Williams, Jade Clarke, Eleanor Cardwell, Laura Malcolm, Halimat Adio, Ella Clark, Hannah Joseph, Rhea Dixon and Layla Guscoth.

The remaining seven players currently play their domestic netball in Australia or New Zealand:

Joanne Harten, Helen Housby, Stacey Francis-Bayman, George Fisher, Geva Mentor, Chelsea Pitman and Natalie Haythornthwaite.

The Vitality Roses programme for the next 12 months will feature a combination of UK-based training camps and competitive opportunities at home and abroad.

England Netball is currently finalising the international competition calendar as it seeks vital exposure for the Vitality Roses against the world’s top teams with fixtures for the next international season announced in due course.

In addition to those now selected for the Vitality Roses programme, all eligible athletes will continue to be observed during the Vitality Netball Superleague season and considered for future inclusion in programme or competition squads.

Before the UK-based athletes named in the programme can meet for their first training camp together this summer, they will be continuing to fight with their respective clubs for a top spot on the table in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

The 2021 season, which will come to a dramatic end on 27 June, and can be viewed on Sky Sports linear and YouTube. Full fixtures for the season can be found on the Vitality Netball Superleague website.