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New partnership provides pathway for netball talent

University of Gloucestershire has launched an exciting new partnership with Hucclecote Netball Club – the largest club of its kind in the South West – providing students with access to specialist coaching and opportunities to play at the highest level of club netball in England.

The partnership will benefit all students who play league or recreational netball at the University – home to four teams in the showpiece British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) Leagues – ahead of its plans to launch a Netball Academy supporting the newly announced alliance later this year.

Graduates and sports scholars from the University include Wales internationals Shona O’Dwyer and Ella Powell-Davies, and Scotland international Chloe Carchrie. Current students and sports scholars include England Universities player Jane Taylor and Milly Pittaway, who both play for Hucclecote’s team in National Premier 1, the top tier of club netball in England.

Former England international Sam Cook coaches the University team and plays for Hucclecote’s National Premier 1 team.

Bringing together expertise from both organisations, the partnership will enable the University to provide students with a coordinated and structured pathway from its own Netball programme – delivered by qualified and experienced Hucclecote coaches – towards more opportunities to play and train alongside elite-level players at the club.

Sue Wainwright, Hucclecote chair, founder member and former University netball coach

Matt Tansley, Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing at the University, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to announce our new partnership with Hucclecote Netball Club and further strengthen our links with more local communities and partners across Gloucestershire.

Founded nearly 50 years ago, Hucclecote has junior and senior teams playing at every level of domestic netball, from local leagues up to the National Premier League, which will provide opportunities for students to gain new qualifications as match officials and coaches supported by the University and the club.

“Our collaboration with Hucclecote will open up new avenue for our students to play competitive netball inside and outside the University, and help to enhance their development and progress through a high standard of regular coaching from experienced and qualified coaches.

“We’ll also be delighted to support any students who wish to take advantage of the enhanced opportunities to gain qualifications as match officials and coaches through the partnership.”

Sue Wainwright, Hucclecote chair, founder member and former University netball coach, said: “Our partnership with University of Gloucestershire is a really exciting new chapter in the long and successful history of the club.

“We’ve always had strong links with the University, with a number of its former students still playing for the club, and the partnership will enable us to grow and strengthen that relationship.

“We’re very much looking to welcoming more University students to the Hucclecote family and providing them with new opportunities to play netball and, should they wish, supporting them to gain coaching or umpiring qualifications.”

Main image: left to right, University students and Hucclecote Netball Club players Milly Pittaway and Jane Taylor and coach Sam Cook