Hartpury’s Netball Academy celebrates best year yet following string of successes


Hartpury’s Netball Academy is celebrating its most successful academic year to date, after winning the Association of Colleges (AoC) Sport National Championship Knockout Cup at the University of Birmingham, beating Huddersfield’s Greenhead College 64-38 on 16 April.

The team qualified for the AoC National Championships by being crowned AoC West Midlands Champions for the 13th consecutive year. The team also won the County School Championships for the 12th consecutive year progressing to the regional finals where they finished in 2nd place, gaining a qualification to National Schools where they fell short of the gold medal by just one goal.

Seven players from the Hartpury squad play in the Netball Performance League (NPL) for Team Bath or Severn Stars at both the under-19 and under-17 level. Lauren Pawson (Welsh Feathers Long Squad) and Niamh Skillicorn (Isle of Man Seniors) - both Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science students, will play in the Netball Europe Challenge 2023 in Cardiff later this week.

Former Hartpury College and Hartpury University student, Ellen Morgan – who studied a Level 3 Extended Diploma Sport (Physical Education and Coaching) before completing her Foundation Degree in Sport Performance followed by her BSc Sport Performance Level 6 Top-up year for a full bachelor’s degree –  will also be representing Wales in this competition.

Holly Duerden, Netball Academy Manager at Hartpury said: “This year has been outstanding, and our results speak for themselves. We only lost three games over four separate competitions - by just one goal.

“Results aside, the girls have grown as individuals and I’m proud of each and every one of them. It’s been admirable to see how they’ve balanced their studies and sport to receive university offers, pass driving tests and overcome huge life experiences.

“As a group, they’ve been a dream to coach and they deserve each and every one of their successes this season.”

Hartpury’s Netball Academy has a now well-established programme spanning five years, providing more than 100 student athletes with a chance to play throughout their college and then university studies at Hartpury. Each student, both male and female, has the chance to train in an elite sporting environment, taking advantage of state-of-the-art facilities and leading coaches who are active at superleague and NPL level. There are many opportunities for those interested in playing for fun and fitness without the competitive elements, too.

Earlier this spring, WSP Solicitors were announced as sponsors of the Hartpury Netball Academy adding its name and branding to both University and College 1st teams, helping the teams to train and compete.

Hartpury has a record for success with over 250 international athletes produced over the past 15 years, and 97% of sports graduates in employment, further study or other purposeful activity (Graduate Outcomes 2022). The high-quality teaching has even been ranked in the top 10 (sixth) in UK and first in the South West in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, as well as number one in the UK (lecturers and teaching quality) in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022 – voted by students, for students.

Picture: Back Left: Holly Duerden (Head Coach) Becky Etchells, Alice Clark, Lauren Pawson,Thea Rhodes, Neve Mortimer, Trinity Lango, Holly Thompson, Jess Shaw (Asst.Coach) Front Left: Natalie Collins, Niamh Skillicorn, Becca Hinkins, Caitlin Brand, Jodie Collins