Thunder players selected for Netball World Cup in Sydney

Manchester Thunder players Sara Bayman and Helen Housby have been named in the England World Cup squad.

Interim coach Tracey Neville has selected her 12-strong team which will play in the sport’s biggest competition in Sydney in August.

Black and Yellow’s captain Bayman, who has won a Commonwealth Games bronze during a successful international career, is joined by young shooter Helen Housby. Housby will be widely seen as a wildcard selection, but her heroics that won Thunder the Superleague title in 2014 and inclusion in the Commonwealth Games squad in Glasgow, have proven she is ready to play on the biggest netball stage.

Neville, who left her post as Thunder head coach to take over at England at the end of the 2015 Superleague season, said: “I have picked players that I feel can offer a performance in two positions and in a variety of on-court combinations. Selection has been tough and unfortunately players like the Corbin sisters and Ama Agbeze, who hasn’t had much court time in the ANZ this season, have missed out. I am confident this is the best squad possible to give us a chance of winning gold in Sydney.”

Former Thunder player and Manchester-born Jade Clarke, who plays for the NSW Swifts in the Trans-Tasman ANZ Championships is also included in Neville’s squad.

The final 12 is a mix of experience and fresh blood, with several players on 100 caps or more, including Pamela Cookey and Melbourne Vixens goal keeper Geva Mentor. Mentor will replace Cookey as captain, with the Surrey Storm shooter taking up the vice-captain position.

Speaking of her decision to promote Mentor to captain, Neville, 37, said: “I believe Geva is a real leader and is the best person to captain the team at this moment in time. She was the world’s number one netball player last season and I had to take that into consideration.”

Surrey Storm skipper Tamsin Greenway, who led her side to the Superleague title earlier this year, is included after rejoining the England fold following the birth of her daughter Jamie and Sonia Mkoloma at 36 is back in the fold after a four-year absence.

ENGLAND NETBALL WORLD CUP SQUAD

Shooters
Jo Harten
Helen Housby
Jo Harten
Rachel Dunn
Pamela Cookey (vice-captain)
Mid-court
Sara Bayman
Jade Clarke
Tamsin Greenway
Serena Guthrie
Defenders
Eboni Beckford-Chambers
Stacey Francis
Geva Mentor (captain)
Sonia Mkoloma