England netball star Eleanor Cardwell can inspire next generation in Blackpool

Netball star Eleanor Cardwell will have plenty of support in her native Blackpool as she bids to help England retain their Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham.

By Andy Moore
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 4:45 pm

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Nowhere more so than at Blackpool Netball Club, where the 27-year-old goal attack/goal shooter developed the skills that took her to the very top of her sport.

Having been named fans' and players' player of the season on winning her fourth national Superleague title with Manchester Thunder, Eleanor will play for Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia's prestigious Suncorp Super League next season.

Eleanor Cardwell is set to win her 40th England cap in Friday's Commonwealth Games opener

But first Eleanor, who scored 641 goals in 21 games during Thunder's unbeaten season, is set to win her 40th England cap against Trinidad and Tobago in Friday's first of five group matches at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.

And Blackpool NC hope a successful Games for Eleanor and England will inspire more young players to strive to follow in her footsteps by joining the club based at Blackpool Sports Centre in Stanley Park.

Blackpool's senior team play in the North West Premier League and narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season, having lost their final game to a Trafford side who went on to earn promotion to the national Premier League.

Head coach Gabrielle Towell is also an assistant coach with Thunder – and has coached Cardwell from the age of 10 - while Blackpool's Rachel Towell was also named players' player of the season for her other club, national Premier League side Leeds Athletic.

Yet it is at junior level that BNC are most eager to increase their membership as coach Gill Walker told the Gazette: “We are trying to increase participation, especially at primary school age. We take players from age four or five.

“We have found more coming along since Covid, as people want to get out and do something, but we'd still like even more.

“It's a really good set-up offering elite and community pathways. Late developers can come through and we cater for people who just want to play socially.

“There's a lot of focus on football at the moment, but netball offers a massive outlet for girls to continue in sport after school.”

Training for juniors will resume in September but new members are welcome to attend Net-Fit sessions until then, combining fitness with netball skills.

Gill added: ““Eleanor proves that if you are prepared to work hard you can make it happen.

”As a “deprived area', it’s great that we have local role models who have also stayed loyal to their home town.”

For further details on joining and other information about the club, Gill can be contacted on 07966 459452 or check out their social media pages.