A former England international and four-time Superleague winner has joined the Severn Stars squad.
Clare Elsley returns to the Superleague after a spell away and said she hopes to help Stars end their debut season on a high.
The 38-year-old has been brought in as a replacement for Stars shooter Afeisha Noel, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after injury. Elsley, who plays at centre and wing defence, will be available for selection for tonight's clash against Team Northumbria and can also play in the side's remaining two matches.
The PE teacher, who lives in Bristol, played for Team Bath when the Superleague was first established, winning three Superleague titles alongside Severn Stars' Director of Netball Pamela Cookey. She won a further title with Hertfordshire Mavericks and represented England at Under 16, Under 18 and Under 21 level and went on to play for the senior team alongside Cookey.
But after being diagnosed with a heart condition, which saw her fitted with a pacemaker, she stopped playing for five years. Elsley returned to the sport three years ago, taking up indoor netball and now represents her country. She is captain of the England Nets team that triumphed at the World Indoor Championships in New Zealand last September.
Elsley, who plays for Premier Romans team in Bristol, joined Stars for training on Wednesday and admitted it was nerve-wracking to come into a side so late in the season, but said she was looking forward to being part of the team and getting on court.
“I'm really excited. They have got some amazing talent. It's a good opportunity to get stuck in at that level with such a great franchise which is looking to develop young players at its junior levels. Being coached by Mo'onia [Gerrard, Stars Head Coach] and Pam is a real bonus. I remember playing against Mo'onia – now I'm being coached by her and it's about learning the Aussie style. I just hope I can do them proud."
She is confident that Stars, which is a joint franchise between the University of Gloucestershire and University of Worcester, can produce three wins in the final games of the season.
“I have followed the Stars throughout the season and they have got so much potential, but the results have been mixed," she added. I hope the team can put out a performance with the consistency they're capable of and I hope I can contribute to that. The last three games are winnable, there's no reason why not."
Pamela Cookey, Director of Netball at the University of Gloucestershire and Severn Stars, said: “I'm really pleased to have someone of Clare's experience joining us as we close out our season."
Remaining tickets for the match, starting at 7.30pm, can be purchased at www.severnstars.co.uk/fixturestickets.