Jade Clarke has high hopes of underdogs Loughborough Lightning winning the Netball Superleague title following her return to the club.
Clarke has spent five years playing in Australia and New Zealand with Waikato Magic, Canterbury Tactix, Northern Mystics and the Sydney Swifts in the ANZ Championship before returning to her former club at Loughborough.
The midcourter, who has 123 England caps and captained the national side at last year’s World Cup, feels she has “unfinished business” at Loughborough after getting close to winning the Superleague with them in 2009, when they lost in the final.
Clarke will be in good company. She has been reunited with former Loughborough teammate Karen Atkinson, who is now their head coach. Clarke says the coach knows her strengths and weaknesses.
Clarke is not the only experienced player to sign for Loughborough. Fellow England internationals Ama Agbeze, Sasha Corbin and her sister Kadeen have also joined.
She now feels Loughborough will be a challenge because they are growing in strength and finished sixth last season.
Netball nets more interest
Clarke has also noticed a lot more excitement about netball today. The 32-year-old says there are more interviews and televised games now. She feels the sport is turning a corner in England and would like to see it become professional.
This interest is expected to increase as England builds towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the World Cup being held in England in 2019.
To add to the excitement, Netball Month was launched at the beginning of January, with Sky Sports dedicating a full month to the sport. Sky said there would be live coverage of the triple header against Australia and Super Saturday, with more than six hours of live Superleague netball from Birmingham.
How to get involved in netball
Many people will have played netball at school, but it is easy to renew an interest by joining a local club or starting an office team. It is a relatively low-cost sport with little equipment or kit needed initially.
In addition to playing games to keep fit, you and your team can also practise netball drills such as those outlined by http://www.sportplan.net/.
Netball is a great way to stay active and also challenges you mentally as you practise your skills and try to outfox the opposition.