By Ella Woszczyk, Deputy Editor
Phoebe Maslen, a Physiological Science student at the University of Bristol, led England to glory against the home nations in the European Netball U21 Championships in Sheffield.
As captain, Phoebe’s team beat Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, to take the top spot in what were her first ever matches on the international stage. Recalling their victory, Phoebe said: ‘It was really special to pick up our medals with my parents and some friends in crowd. It felt crazy.’
Acknowledging her responsibility as head of the team, she said: ‘I was nervous before the competition. It’s nerve-wracking just getting your first cap, but then there’s being that leader too. But I was also just excited to have that opportunity because I love netball so much.’
Talking about the team dynamic, Phoebe said: ‘We’re a really tight squad but also a really new squad – ‘We played really well together, considering the lack of training time we’d had.’
Though Phoebe has played netball since the age of 8, her achievements are all the more impressive given that she was passed over for the England trials only 3 years ago.
‘It was really tough to take,’ she reflected. ‘But at the end of the day, I think it made me so much stronger. After that, I grew in fitness and strength, and I realised ‘this is what I really want.’
‘The year after I did get a trial and I was ready for it, and I got in. So I think at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason.’
Playing as centre and wing defence, Phoebe can run several kilometres during games and burn up to 1,000 calories in her demanding two-hour training sessions.
Phoebe’s resilience comes from her enjoyment of the sport: ‘Netball is such a fast-paced game and it’s really nice having a team, working together, building connections. When training starts, I just forget about everything else.’
Half-way through her degree, Phoebe aspires after graduation to compete in the top-level Super Netball League in Australia, as well as to play on the British women’s senior team.
Chani Wopara, Phoebe’s coach at the university, described how ‘Phoebe’s strong in all aspects of the game: her physical ability, technical knowledge, speed and her leadership skills.
‘I was really proud to see her leading England – and it was great to see her relishing and enjoying the opportunity.’
Featured image: Megan Harlow
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