Hannah’s a netballing diamond

DIGGLE’S Hannah Diamond has been re-selected for England Netball’s Roses Academy for a second successive season.

And the 17-year-old will be attending a selection camp at Loughborough University on July 10-11 for a home nations tournament which is planned later this year.

Hannah Diamond

Hannah, who is in the sixth form at The Blue Coat School, Oldham, has another important date on Sunday, July 18 when she will be representing Manchester Thunder Under-19s in the National Performance League finals at the University of Worcester.

It was in March 2020, and a fortnight before the Covid-19 lockdown, when Hannah made her debut for England helping them win the Netball Europe Under-17 Championships at Ebbw Vale.

Hannah, a former pupil at Diggle Primary, was a starter in all four games against Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Switzerland.

She had been selected to the Roses Academy for the first time for the 2019-20 season.

Since she took up the sport at the age of eight, Hannah has enjoyed considerable success.

She was a member of the Thunder U17 squad that won England Netball’s National Performance League (NPL) in 2019.

She is also a member of the current Thunder’s U19 squad competing in England Netball’s NPL and in her eighth season with Oldham Netball Club.

She is one of three Saddleworth-based girls in the Thunder and England youth set ups, the other two are Grasscroft girls Alicia Scholes and Yasmin Roebuck.

Hannah, a season-ticket holder at Oldham Athletic long with father Paddy and grandfather and local undertaker David Barlow, has also broken new ground by landing her first sponsorship deal.

A partnership between SportsAid and Wall’s Pastry’s partnership is helping fuel Hannah’s burgeoning sporting journey, with an innovative on-pack Wall’s promotion giving consumers a chance to win a handful of money-can’t-buy experiences.

The on-pack promotion launched earlier this month and involves 50p from every pack sold going towards supporting the next generation of SportsAid stars, one of who is Hannah.

The vital funding goes towards travel and equipment costs for young athletes and Hannah does not have to look far for inspiration among SportsAid alumni, with Jessica Ennis-Hill among those to have benefitted from similar programmes in the past.

Hannah in action

Hannah is excited about the growth netball has undergone since England soared to 2018 Commonwealth Games gold and hailed the influence of big names she has seen around her clubs.

“A lot of the Manchester Thunder players, when I was younger at Oldham, used to play for Oldham,” she added.

“I would see them at training, and I used to go to watch the Thunder as well when I was young.

“A lot of the players that used to play for Thunder like Kerry Almond and Krista Enziano and Helen Housby – they all inspired me.

“It is so good at Thunder, it just feels like everyone’s one big family throughout all the teams, and you feel so much pride when you play in for Thunder because it’s your local area and you’re playing with all your friends.

“Obviously with Tracey [Neville] back, she is a big star now, isn’t she? It’s crazy how she’s coached England to a Commonwealth gold and now she is back at Thunder.”

  • Wall’s Pastry is proud to be championing the next generation of UK athletes. For more information about Wall’s Pastry or the on-pack promotion, visit walls-pastry.co.uk/

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