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6th March 2017

Manchester athletes picked for North squads

Several players from the universities’ Rugby and Netball clubs have progressed beyond their respective clubs and will be given a chance showcase their talents on the national stage

The girl’s netball club have become one of the stand out clubs in the Athletics Union so far this year. Regularly team of the week and consistently delivering wins across the board, including five wins out of six a few weeks ago, some of their club members have been shown the due recognition they deserve.  Ellie Smith, Olivia Leach and Claudia Payne have been successful enough to have earned places on the Universities’ North Regional Squads, which allows them to trial for the English National Squads. Vice Captain Olivia Edwards gave us a few words on the girls and their outstanding achievement.

Ellie Smith (GA/GS) – “Plays in the University first team and is a training partner for Manchester Thunder. Ellie’s commitment to the first team over the last three years has been pivotal in the team’s success and survival in the league. Consistently gets 90 per cent shooting accuracy and is a talent to watch for the future.”

Claudia Payne (GK) – “First team captain and has lead the team in a very successful league campaign, where it is likely the first team will finish 3rd of the Northern Prem division. Played in the first team for three years. Claudia is excellent at reading the game to produce game changing turnovers, which has allowed her team to see so many victories.”

Olivia Leach (GA/GS) –”Second team player. Second team have their final games over the next few weeks where they hope to secure promotion. They have also reached the quarter final of the cup. Her contributions to the team have been invaluable throughout the season and you could not ask more from a fresher. She has fit into the team so smoothly and will be playing first team netball next year. Another shooter with superb shooting accuracy.”

“Each of the players more than deserves their places in the North Regional Netball Squad and there selection recognizes all of the hard work that they have put in over the last season during training and matches, in addition to all of the training they do outside of UoM. All three players will be an asset to the North regional squad, Ellie and Olivia because of their excellent attacking abilities and shooting accuracy, and Claudia for her ability to read the game and produce turnovers. From a club perspective, it is great to have such a large representation at this level and we will support all of our players as they train to make it into the national team. The fact that players from both the first and second teams have made it into the north regional squad reflects the extremely high level of netball that is being played across the club currently.”

The men’s Rugby club have also had some outstanding achievements. Three of their players, Guy Bradley, Charlie Reed and Alfie Dudman-Jones, also made the Universities’ North Regional Squads for 7’s and will progress forward to the 7’s English National trials. Chris Calvert has also been contacted by Championship Rugby side Rotherham over a professional contact, which is a remarkable feat. The Chairman of the Rugby club Jos Edwards had a few words for us on each of the guys and their outstanding achievement.

Guy Bradley (Centre) – “Guy is a dynamic centre, who despite not be the quickest or biggest in the team finds himself beating defenders and crossing the gain line often. Has a strong hand off that often creates space for other players to offload to — seen best when he crossed over for UOM’s try at varsity. Very solid defensively and large frame make him an ideal sevens player.”

Charlie Reed (Fly half) – “Charlie Reed is a match winner, first team fly half he loves playing with front foot ball and often can create something out of nothing due to his quick feet. A man for the big occasion and pressure situation — seen scoring the winning conversion as a fresher from the sideline against Sheffield and landed the winning penalty in the final play of the game against St Andrews this season from half way to see the first team win 36-34. The space provided by the 7s game is perfectly suited to his strongest attributes.

Alfie Dudman Jones (Winger) – “What kind of player he is: A born finisher and leader. Alfie is the top try scorer for the Uni side this year, and is also the first team captain. He has taken many games by the scruff of the neck and led the side to victory, this was seen best at St Andrews where he scored three of the four tries for UoM from the wing. He’s the quickest player at UMRFC and whenever he’s given space to run at players it takes a lot to stop him.”

“It means a lot that finally the talent we have is being recognised on a national level and that will draw other talented players to attend the university knowing that the rugby club is fully behind furthering their rugby playing aspirations.”

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