4 months ago


semi-finals. At the

semi-finals. At the knock-out stage they met 2014 champions and their Round 6 conquerors, Manchester Thunder. Led by Head Coach Karen Greig, Thunder arrived at the semi-finals on wave of acclaim after the franchise had been hit hard by the exodus of several key players in summer 2016, Helen Housby & Sara Bayman to name but two. But Wasps proved a step too far for the North West contenders, winning 63-48 at the Barclaycard Arena with former Thunder player, Natalie Haythornthwaite starring. That left a clash of the titans, Grand Final encounter with none other than Loughborough Lightning, who went into the game with just one loss across the entire season. If semi-finals day provided us with a spectacle then "Judgement Day" was even better! It was everything a top-of-the-table clash should be. And with England Netball and Sky Sports throwing their full weight behind the event, the encounter garnered the kind of media coverage that the sport is going to need if it is to attract the commercial partners that will ultimately enable netball to go to the next level, and see the UK compete with the franchise model in Australia and New Zealand. By the end of the first quarter it was pretty much neck and neck, with the veteran combination of Greenway and Dunn linking up well in the Wasps attack. In defence, the outstanding Hannah Reid was at the forefront of the strategy aimed at cutting off the supply-line to the dangerous Proscovia, whilst mid-court whirlwind Bongi Msomi was at the heart of everything. It was an all-round team performance worthy of champions, and deserving of glory. It also sealed their remarkable "nothing to something" journey... from nowhere to the pinnacle of franchise netball in the UK in less than 12 months! It's the stuff of legend, and us netball fans - to say nothing of Wasps growing army of supporters - are unlikely to forget it in a hurry! But while many associated with the club deserve huge praise, one person stands out... Tamsin Greenway! She has been the driving force in the Wasps Netball engine room. The coach, the leader, and now, the legend! Many have played their part as already mentioned, but Tamsin has been the hero, or rather the heroine, of this story. When she was first approached about a move to the Ricoh, Wasps knew what they wanted and what they’d be getting with the England Roses legend. Passion, dedication, commitment, desire, a ferocious will to win and someone with a huge track record of success. It's an irresistible combination that makes her a leader that others willingly follow, a “Netball General” in every sense. The players, the sponsors, the hype... Tamsin was right at 12

the centre of it all. But it wasn’t all plain sailing, with her attracting criticism for taking five Surrey Storm players with her to Wasps. Perhaps netball in the UK, in its amateur form, hadn’t realised that sentiment has little value at the top end of elite sport. It’s about winning, and when a proven winner asks other winners to follow her somewhere else to win again, you don’t hang around where you are to take part! While many may have missed it, there’s no doubt that Superleague netball in the UK owes a debt of gratitude to Tamsin Greenway. Just as she did at Surrey, Tamsin has raised the bar, and it means the rest of the field now has little choice but to lift their game too. Netball may not have the kind of profile European football enjoys, but Greenway is the Superleague’s version of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, and she is forcing the standards up across the board. When Pep Guardiola led his Barcelona team to their 2nd Champions League title in three years in 2011 (This is Tamsin’s 3rd Superleague title in a row when in charge of a team), it left the rest of Europe with one option... adapt or get used to losing! It can only be good for the Vitality Netball Superleague and I have no doubt that Joanna Adams, Tracey Neville and the rest of England Netball are thrilled that all the franchises are now under serious pressure to improve every aspect of their operation. If they don’t, then their place at the top table of UK netball may very well be in jeopardy, and England Netball, equally as driven as Tamsin for success, will also have little room for sentiment! When Netball Universe caught up with Tamsin, we asked her what her secret to success was. She told us... “It’s simple really – you have to adapt! Netball in the UK is evolving quickly thanks to the growing appeal of the sport, and if you are unwilling to change, adapt and grow in the elite part of the game, you’ll ultimately be left behind. I’m always evaluating things so that we can keep on improving because there’s always room for improvement. We had a really honest group this year and that meant we were all able to see things as they were in the highs and 13

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