Team Bath call upon Dyke among four fresh VNSL inclusions

TEAM Bath have secured the services of impressive midcourter Bethan Dyke for the 2023 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season as the signing period continued this week. The 27-year-old Welsh wing attack who can also suit up in centre, has been an impressive improver at Severn Stars, but went to another level at the recent international event. Dyke provided plenty of connection there with Betsy Creak, an already established member of the Team Bath outfit.

Dyke missed the second half of the 2021 VNSL season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear playing for the Stars. She returned to the competition in 2022, where she stepped up like she had never left, before switching her blue dress for red when she represented her country in Birmingham. There, Dyke produced a massive 106 goal assists from 178 feeds, being a crucial cog in Wales’ campaign which featured a victory over rivals Scotland.

New Team Bath head coach Asha Francis said the former Stars and Celtic Dragons midcourter had impressed her during the international event, and was keen to bring her into the new-look Bath side.

“I watched Bethan in the Commonwealth Games and am really excited about what she is going to bring,” Francis said. “I spoke to [former Stars coach] Melissa Bessell to find out more about who Bethan is and she spoke really highly about how hard she works and what a great person she would be for the culture of the club. I also asked, as I did around all the players, what they would be like if they were on the bench and Melissa said ‘she won’t be on the bench for you!’”

Dyke headlines four new inclusions to the 2022 VNSL finalists, with youngsters Jayda Pechova (London Pulse), Sophie Kelly (Surrey Storm) and Phoebe Maslen (Wasps Netball) also coming into the Team Bath senior squad. Francis has covered all bases, with the inclusions in different thirds of the court.

Pechova is an 18-year-old circle defender who played two games with the Pulse in 2022, with Maslen a defensive midcourter yet to be capped at VNSL level having come through the Wasps Under 19s program.

“There is some real excitement about those players and it’s always great to have youth in the team,” Francis said. “I knew they were coming this way for university and it intrigued me to find out more about who they are and where they are heading. They will bring a vibrancy, an energy, and they really want to learn.”

Kelly is the most experienced of the trio, having played 12 games in 2021 in the shooting circle, before only managing two games at the Storm in 2022 due to the inclusion of Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia who re-signed for the 2023 season.

“I’m really excited about the squad and the players who have come on board with us this season,” Francis said. “There has been a lot of thought about who we need, what we need, what we want the team to look and feel like, and who is going to add value off court as well as on.”

Aside from the four fresh faces to the blue and gold, Team Bath welcomed back two familiar faces in Summer Artman and Kadeen Corbin. Artman is an up and coming young gun who returns for her third stint at the club after spending the 2022 season with Severn Stars, The now 25-year-old has enough experience under her belt to make an impact in the starting seven.

Francis is familiar with Corbin, having played alongside her during Team Bath’s VNSL title-winning 2013 squad. Then her captain, Francis is excited to welcome back the soon-to-be 31-year-old shooter who has spent time with the Mavericks up both ends in recent seasons.

“Kadeen and I have been reminiscing about the time we spent together as players but while she has a lot of years behind her she still has that desire to get better,” Francis said.

“She also wants to share her knowledge and having players like Kadeen, Summer and Bethan bringing that experience will really help guide and support the younger players. Their input is going to be invaluable.”

Though there is plenty of excitement around the incoming players, Team Bath has farewelled a quartet of internationally-capped talents. Layla Guscoth and Phumza Maweni leave big shoes to fill in one of the strongest defences in the league, while midcourter Jessica Shaw and shooter Sophie Drakeford-Lewis also departed for other opportunities.

“We would like to thank Layla, Sophie, Phumza and Jess for the contribution they have made to the Blue & Gold,” Francis said. “They will be greatly missed but their impact will remain, particularly for the young players who got to learn so much by training alongside and against players of such quality. “We wish all of them the very best in the next stage of their netballing journeys.”


Imogen Allison
Summer Arman
Lily-May Catling
Kadeen Corbin
Bethan Dyke
Kirsty Harris
Lily Jones
Sophie Kelly
Phoebe Maslen
Annie O’Rourke
Hannah Passmore
Tash Pavelin
Jayda Pechova

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