Wasps Netball coaches target BUCS glory

Two of Wasps Netball’s coaches could be on their way to university glory this year as students prepare to take centre stage in the quarter-finals of a national competition.

Head Coach Mel Mansfield and Under 21s Coach Dannii Titmuss are both enjoying success away from Ricoh Arena this season.

Their university teams, which feature Wasps first-team and academy players, have both reached the final eight of the BUCS Championship.

University of Hertfordshire, led by Wasps Head Coach Mansfield, topped the BUCS Premier South, while Titmuss’ University of Birmingham side progressed in equally impressive fashion from BUCS Premier North to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

The pair could go head-to-head in the final of the British University and College Sport (BUCS) Netball tournament, providing they win their remaining fixtures.

Wasps Defender Fran Williams is a key member of the Birmingham squad, which is made up entirely of Wasps first-team players and Under-21 training partners, while Sam May, Chloe Essam, and Under-21 player Bethany Dix are part of Mansfield’s Hertfordshire side.

Two wins stand between them and an all-Wasps final in February, after losing just three of their 20 games collectively, and scoring over 1200 goals.

Mansfield said: “Being involved in a top university set-up is a great precursor for players on their way to reaching Superleague standard.

“It means that the girls get to play plenty of netball and that has led to this level becoming more and more important in the development of our young players.

“It was massive for us to get top spot. Hopefully we can repeat last year’s success and go all the way.

“The girls at University of Birmingham have a great advantage of being so closely linked to Wasps.

“To top the group ahead of Bath was a massive achievement for us and we will be looking to build on that and go as far as possible in this competition.”

The quarter-finals are set to be played this month before the semi-finals get underway in March.

Titmuss said: “We were really happy to have won the league before Christmas. The squad are in good form and we’re excited to see what we can achieve this year.

“The standard of university netball is exceptional, and it really is a breeding ground for Superleague players.

“It’s great to see Wasps feature so heavily at university level and it’s a reflection of the strength of the franchise.”