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Bristol Uni student leads England U21 netball team to European gold in first capped games

The second-year physiological science student trains six days a week on top of her studies


A student at the University of Bristol captained the England under-21 netball team as they captured gold at the recent European Championships.

Phoebe Maslen, a second-year physiological science student, led the England netball team to victory in what were her first matches on the international stage.

England successfully beat the three other home nations, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, to claim European glory in Sheffield.

Talking about the team, 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.”

(credit Morgan Harlow)

Phoebe believes that while being captain is a privilege it also brings forward a lot of pressure, 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.

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

Phoebe, who started playing netball at just eight years old, manages to balance her studies with six days of training per week.

Her achievement is all the more impressive given that she was passed over for England trials only three years ago.

“It was really tough to take,” she recalls. “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, I was so ready for it and I got in. So I think at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason.”

(credit Morgan Harlow)

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

Talking about training, 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 graduation, Phoebe has her eyes set on heading to Australia to compete in the Suncorp Super Netball League, as well as playing for the women’s senior team here in Britain.

(credit Morgan Harlow)

Phoebe’s netball coach at Bristol University, Chani Wopara, 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.”

Cover image credit via Morgan Harlow

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