NETBALL is rapidly emerging as the new kid on the sporting block and with one year to go until the Commonwealth Games, Harriet Sanderson has her eyes on the prize.
Sanderson, 19, plays for Severn Stars Academy – based at the University of Worcester – and last season represented England at Under-19 level.
The recent Vitality Netball Superleague attracted eyeballs far and wide and with every game broadcast live on Sky, the visibility of the sport continues to blossom.
Sanderson has revelled in watching the expansion and says netball’s ever-growing profile means there’s no better time to be a rising star of the court.
“The growth of women’s netball is amazing,” said Sanderson, who is balancing her sporting career with a physiotherapy degree at the University of Birmingham.
“Especially when they’re on TV with Sky Sports broadcasting it. I’ve been watching the team and the girls I play with – it makes it all a lot more exciting.
“It’s really exciting – especially at the moment where there are so many younger players in Super League teams. I watch them on the TV and a lot of them know me quite well from the Severn Stars set-up.
“I know that I’m a similar ability to then. It’s encouraging to see that this could be me in a couple of years.”
Sanderson’s netball career is powered by a partnership between Entain and SportsAid which provides vital funding for training, travel, equipment and access to mentoring. She honed her early craft on the court of Hucclecote Netball Club and now enters her sixth season at Severn Stars.
Sanderson also harbours firm international ambitions and won’t ever forget watching Tracey Neville lead her Team England heroes to Commonwealth Games victory in the Gold Coast three years ago.
Versatile Sanderson, who can play goalkeeper, goal defence, wing defence or centre, hopes more glory in front of the cameras can catapult her to the next cycle for 2026.
“I’d really like to get on the England pathway,” added Sanderson.
“I’m just going to focus on my playing ability, learning the game more and getting fitter. Then I’ll look to get into England over the coming years.
“I really want to play in the Super League for a franchise and just keep playing to the best of my ability and to the highest level there is. Representing the Red Roses is definitely the ultimate goal. Things like that keep me going – and remind me that it’s not the end.”
* Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. As part of this three-year partnership, Entain are supporting a diverse group 50 of UK athletes per year from a variety of spots and para-sports. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.