VNSL 2022 Team Preview: Team Bath

FALLING short of a the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) title last season, Team Bath will hope to go one better next year. Reaching its first VNSL Grand Final since 2013, Bath benefited off the return of Roses internationals Layla Guscoth and Serena Guthrie. In 2021, Bath recorded 17 wins in what became a three-horse race with Loughborough Lightning and Manchester Thunder. But, despite defeating the Thunder by three goals in the semi-finals, fell well short of the Lightning (49-32) in the decider.

Next season, Bath will have to try and go one better without a star defender who has headed to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN). Eboni Usoro-Brown had been a crucial cog in Bath’s defensive set-up, but now the circle defender will take up her opportunity with Queensland Firebirds in the SSN in Australia. Though not a starting seven member, the exciting Summer Artman also departed for Severn Stars, whilst duo Charlotte Curtis and Abigail Robson both left for Surrey Storm.

Continuing the trend of those huge couple of ins heading into the 2021 VNSL season, Team Bath played its cards close to its chest initially making the one signing, in Wasps’ Lily-May Catling to replace Usoro-Brown in the back third. A Bath supporter growing up, Catling is one who should be able to step into the starting seven after a strong season with Wasps at VNSL level.

Just when it looked like Bath might be settled with its squad, a late announcement came that former Sunshine Coast Lightning, and South African defender Phumza Maweni had signed on. Somehow Bath had pulled off replacing an international defender with another international defender, and ended up with even greater depth than previously.

Even outside the swap of internationals, Bath still has a ridiculous talented and stacked squad. Alongside Guthrie and Guscoth as worldclass players, Bath also has another Roses talent in Imogen Allison, re-signing alongside Jessica Shaw. Shaw herself could almost be considered an “in” after an injury-riddled year put a line through her season from April after crossing from the Lightning the previous season. She will step straight back into the midcourt alongside her sister and England international Rachel Shaw.

Whilst the midcourt and defensive ends both have international stars, even the shooting circle has a Roses gem, in the versatile Sophie Drakeford-Lewis. Having formed a terrific bond with Australian volume shooter Kim Borger, fans can rely on the pair putting up big numbers. They also have great depth on a scoring front with Hannah Passmore and Betsy Creak, as well as attacking training partner Kirsty Harris. Up the other end, Tash Pavelin is one who can play multiple positions for the blue and gold.


GK: Phumza Maweni
GD: Layla Guscoth
WD: Imogen Allison
C: Serena Guthrie
WA: Jessica Shaw
GA: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
GS: Kim Borger

The inclusion of Shaw at wing attack will only strengthen the side, and Maweni coming in will off-set the loss of Usoro-Brown. The team is littered with England internationals, so much so that some are still on the bench. Expect Bath to be another huge contender for the VNSL title, as the blue and gold aim to go one better in 2022.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments