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Student leads England to Euro gold in first capped games

Student Phoebe Maslen holds the ball at the Europe Netball U21 Championships Morgan Harlow

Phoebe receives England's trophy Morgan Harlow

Phoebe and her team. Phoebe is holding the trophy Morgan Harlow

Press release issued: 18 October 2023

A student led England to victory at the Europe Netball U21 Championships during her first matches on the international stage.

Phoebe Maslen’s side beat Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to take the top spot in Sheffield.

“We’re a really tight squad but also a really new squad,” the University of Bristol Physiological Science student said. "We played really well together, considering the lack of training time we’d had.

“I was nervous before the competition. It’s nerve-racking 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.

“It was really special to pick up our medals with my parents and some friends in crowd. It felt crazy.”

When Phoebe began playing netball aged eight, she could not have guessed that 12 years later she would be training six days a week as a semi-professional player, all while studying at the University of Bristol.

Her achievements are all the more impressive given that she was passed over for England trials at 17.

“It was really tough to take,” she remembered. “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.”

Phoebe, who plays centre and wing defence, can run several kilometres during games and burn up to 1,000 calories during her gruelling two-hour training sessions.

She said: “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.”

After graduating from the University of Bristol, Phoebe hopes to compete in the Suncorp Super Netball League in Australia – as well as the British women’s senior team.

Chani Wopara, Phoebe’s coach at the University of Bristol, said: “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.”

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