By Dan Andrade
Lily Jones took a big leap, moving away from Jersey to try and progress her netball career. She has not looked back since and is excelling with Team Bath!
Dan Andrade caught up with the islands latest netball star, speaking about winning the recent Fast5 tournament and how she is hoping to carry on working towards her dream of playing for the England Roses one day!
Read the full interview below!
What are your first memories of playing netball?
My first experience and memory of playing netball was in Year 5 at school and my first inter insular match in Jersey for U11s which we won!
Did you have any players at Jets who you looked up to when you were growing up?
I remember watching Jets from the balcony at Les Ormes and thinking how amazing they all were, especially Jacy Brown who, as well as being an incredible player, was a hard working and determined competitor. I was lucky enough to play for Jets under Jacy’s captaincy and she was such an inspiration to me.
How big an impact has Linda Andrew’s been on your development?
I honestly don’t think I would be where I am in netball today without Linda’s support, encouragement and belief in me. From the time I was travelling off island regularly from age 13, Linda was there for me in so many different ways. Linda gave me the opportunity at age 15 to play for Team Jets which was the first real turning point for me with in respect to my confidence, self belief and development.
What was it like when you made your first senior appearance for Jets?
My first cap for Team Jets was a home game. I didn’t really expect to get on court, but when I did come on I was incredibly nervous and exhilarated at the same time. There was an enormous cheer from our amazing supporters and the whole atmosphere and experience was unforgettable.
How was that experience, playing against players who you didn’t know much about?
The whole of that season made me a much more confident player, playing against senior players in the National Premier League 3. I wasn’t concerned about the opposition as I relished the opportunity and challenge that playing with Jets at that level presented to me.
How did the move to Bath come around?
To make the most of netball opportunities in the UK, I decided to study for A levels at Hartpury College. With Bath being one of the most successful Superleague teams and relatively close to school, I trialled for their U19 team thinking this would give me a better opportunity to improve my game. Since being with Team Bath, my experience and development has been amazing, so it was definitely the right decision and move to make.
How much are you enjoying the experience, from training to the games?
I was lucky enough to be made captain of the U19 team last season, which was a real privilege. From the moment I got the call from Anna Stembridge to offer me a contract with the Superleague squad, I have had an amazing time. Anna is one of the best netball coaches in England and I am learning so much from her. Training each week with the players, many of whom are England Internationals, has helped me develop my game like never before. Training and playing with Serena Guthrie is quite surreal and for me, a dream come true.
How good was it to win the Fast5 tournament? Talk us through the emotions of winning that?
Winning the Fast5 tournament was absolutely incredible. The atmosphere at the Copperbox Arena, which is part of the Olympic Park in London, was truly unbelievable. From running on to court through the fireworks in front of an enormous crowd to lifting the cup 6 hours later made it a truly special day. The whole experience, travelling with the team, the professionalism and focus of the squad and my teams performance to become champions was amazing and a day I will always remember.
How far do you want to go with your netball career?
Of course I would love to go all the way to Senior England Roses. At the moment I am just enjoying and making the most of the opportunities I’ve got with Team Bath in the Superleague which will help me develop as a player and a person.
Finally, how much would you encourage girls to play netball? How much of positive impact has it had on you?
I absolutely love playing netball. It has given me confidence, self belief and not least many great friendships. I would encourage anyone to play, whether for fun, fitness or to the highest level. Jersey Netball has an amazing pathway for youngsters which I have been through from the beginning and for which I will be forever grateful.