Over the last two months Leeds Rhinos Netball have run twelve Performance Pathway Trials and have now selected the athletes who will make up their Under-17, Under-19s and Under-21s squad.
Trials were due to take place for the Under-15s but with further lockdown restrictions across the country this has led to these being postponed until next year.
Francine Hall, Franchise Pathway Coach for Leeds Rhinos Netball, said the trial periods have been very successful, despite the challenges that current restrictions have inflicted on the process.
“The trials have gone really well and we have been impressed with the talent in Yorkshire,” said Hall. “We have had over 200 athletes attend our trials for the Under-17s, Under-19 and Under-21s and we have now finalised the squads for those age groups.
“We had planned to do our Under-15s trials this year, but the new national restrictions have meant that we have had to postpone those until the new year. We have been overwhelmed by the interest though and are expecting over 200 athletes to try out.
“The trials this year have run over twelve sessions and have involved a technical session and a match play opportunity. This has given us a good opportunity to see how the athletes perform in two different settings and we have been able to get different coaches to lead the sessions to see how they adapt.”
Along with the trials being an opportunity to see some of the best emerging talent in the region, Hall has also been thankful for the support from Netball community in Yorkshire to help make sure the trails went ahead.
“For the match play opportunities we were extremely grateful for the support of the umpires from the Yorkshire region who were fantastic and enabled us to make these sessions happen,” explained Hall.
“It is very encouraging for the region to see how many talented players there are and now they can be involved in a pathway with a Superleague franchise. It was also great to see how some players have developed over the last twelve months, with some who tried out last year and were unsuccessful, but this time were able to make the squad.
“We also have seen many of the players who were involved on our pathway last year move up from to the next age group, so that’s great to see how they have progressed over the last year and we have some consistency in our pathway.”
Alongside the success of the trails the franchise received more exciting news last month, with the announcement that four players on their Pathway had been selected for international squads.
“We were proud to see four of our players get international call ups this month. Lydia Harrison, Harriet King and Isabelle Howse have been invited to attend the England Roses Academy and Emma Grant named in the Scotland A squad. Each of them have worked hard and applied themselves so we are so pleased for them to get this recognition.”