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A Journey of Six World Cups, 367 Caps, and Two Transformed Players

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Netball legends

Geva Mentor and Jade Clarke, two iconic figures in the world of netball, stand together on the verge of their record-equalling sixth Netball World Cup. With 367 caps between them, they have become the most-capped players in England’s netball history, leaving an indelible mark on the sport they love.

Their journey began more than two decades ago when they both played for England Under-17s. Little did they know that this shared path would lead them to achieve greatness and leave a lasting impact on netball worldwide.

One amusing anecdote from their journey involves a fridge, of all things. During a 2001 match in New Zealand, sponsored by appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel, both teams participated in a competition where they had to shoot a ball into an open washing machine. Despite being a goal keeper with limited shooting skills, 16-year-old Mentor surprisingly emerged victorious, winning a fridge as her prize. To make her decision about the fridge’s door-opening side, she even sought advice from her mother over the phone. That fridge, a tangible reminder of her early days in the sport, still sits in her mother’s house today.

The impact of Mentor and Clarke extends far beyond the fridge and the two decades they’ve spent playing. They were instrumental in England’s groundbreaking triumph at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a turning point for the sport that brought it into the mainstream media and public consciousness. Back when they started, netball received little media coverage, and even watching an England match was a challenge. Now, the sport has evolved, and the England squad enjoys professional support with access to advanced training techniques, video analysis, and data science.

Over the years, Mentor and Clarke have witnessed significant changes within the sport and the team. They have built strong friendships with teammates who have come and gone, some of whom now hold coaching positions. The respect they’ve earned as players and role models has allowed them to transition smoothly into new team dynamics.

Their contribution to netball goes beyond inspiring teammates; they have been pivotal in reshaping perceptions of the sport. The momentous win at the 2018 Commonwealth Games proved that England could compete with the traditionally dominant netball nations from the southern hemisphere, and this achievement propelled netball into the limelight. The sport grew in popularity, and young aspiring players now see Mentor and Clarke as role models, inspiring the next generation of netball stars.

As the 2023 Netball World Cup approaches, Mentor has announced her retirement from international play. On the other hand, Clarke, while not expecting a formal retirement, looks set to conclude her England career. The tournament presents a chance for the duo to bid farewell with a dream ending – reaching the World Cup final, a feat England has not achieved before.

Looking back, the wide-eyed teenager Jade Clarke, handed an envelope containing her selection letter for the national team, could never have imagined the incredible journey ahead. Now, two decades later, with six World Cups and 367 caps under their belts, Mentor and Clarke stand as giants of the sport they helped transform, leaving a legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Netball legends

1. Who are Geva Mentor and Jade Clarke?

Geva Mentor and Jade Clarke are renowned netball players and legends in the sport. They hold the record as England’s most-capped players with a combined total of 367 caps.

2. What was their impact on netball?

Mentor and Clarke played a crucial role in transforming netball’s popularity and visibility. Their contributions helped elevate the sport, especially after England’s groundbreaking victory at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

3. How did they start their netball journey?

Both players began their journey with England Under-17s more than two decades ago, paving the way for their illustrious careers and leaving an enduring legacy.

4. Can you share a memorable moment from their early days?

A notable memory was during a 2001 match in New Zealand, where Mentor won a competition and a fridge as a prize. The fridge remains a nostalgic reminder of her early experiences in the sport.

5. How did netball’s landscape change during their careers?

When they started, netball had limited media coverage, but their success contributed to the sport’s rise in popularity. It now enjoys more recognition, TV coverage, and support.

6. Are they involved in coaching or mentoring?

Yes, Mentor and Clarke have maintained strong connections within the netball community. They have built friendships with former teammates who now hold coaching positions, and they continue to be inspirational figures for aspiring players.

7. Are they still active players?

As of now, Mentor has announced her retirement from international play, while Clarke may not officially retire but looks set to conclude her England career.

8. What are their goals for the upcoming Netball World Cup?

Their dream is to lead England to the World Cup final, a feat that the team has not accomplished before. They are eager to bid farewell to their illustrious careers on a high note.

9. How have they inspired the next generation of netball players?

Their achievements and perseverance have made Mentor and Clarke role models for aspiring netball players, inspiring them to follow their dreams and excel in the sport.

10. What is their lasting legacy?

Their legacy goes beyond the records and accolades. Mentor and Clarke have left an indelible mark on the sport of netball, paving the way for future generations and transforming netball into a global phenomenon.

More about Netball legends

  • Mentor and Clarke’s Netball World Cup Record: Source
  • Impact on Netball’s Popularity: Source
  • England Under-17s Netball Journey: Source
  • Memorable Moment in New Zealand: Source
  • Transformation of Netball’s Landscape: Source
  • Mentor and Clarke’s Coaching and Mentoring: Source
  • Mentor’s Retirement Announcement: Source
  • Clarke’s Future Plans in Netball: Source
  • Goals for the Netball World Cup: Source
  • Inspiring the Next Generation of Netball Players: Source
  • Legacy and Impact on Netball: Source

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