A professional netball team is coming to Gloucestershire thanks to a successful joint bid by the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Worcester.
The Severn Stars is one of a number of new franchises in the Vitality Netball Superleague, announced by England Netball today.
Gloucestershire and Worcester’s successful bid followed an intensive application and selection process that attracted huge interest from netball clubs and businesses throughout the UK.
Head of School for Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, Dr Anita Navin, has an outstanding reputation within the sport as a leading coach educator and is currently a commentator for Sky TV netball games.
“I am thrilled at the outcome and I possess an incredible passion for developing netball in England and globally,” Anita said. “I look forward to supporting England Netball in their quest to be number one in the world offering exceptional netball opportunities to our local cities and communities.”
Both universities have strong traditions of developing talented players. Students from both universities have been selected to represent England at this summer’s World Series in New Zealand.
Gloucestershire and Worcester also both have associations with elite teams from other sports, including the University of Gloucestershire’s ‘All Golds’ Rugby League Club in Gloucester and the Worcester Wolves British Basketball League team.
Mick Donovan, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development) at Worcester, said: “We have been working with the team at Gloucestershire for over one year to prepare the strongest bid possible. The Severn Stars partnership boasts a wealth of talent, experience and potential from within a wide range of partners. Many people have worked hard to bring elite netball to the city and we are really looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
The name derives from the river that brings the two regions together. The Severn Stars partnership will be supported by a number of associated organisations from within the two regions that include thriving university and club programmes. Significantly, the Worcester City and Hucclecote clubs have both played at the highest level outside of the superleague.
In the early seasons, the home games will be played at the University of Worcester Arena, and upon completion of new facilities at the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus in Gloucester, hosting of home games will be shared.
The first game will be played in February. The club now faces a busy schedule as they work towards building a playing and coaching team.