Coaching departures at Herts

Karen Atkinson and Kat Ratnapala have stepped down from their roles of Head Coach and Assistant Coach at Superleague franchise Hertfordshire Mavericks.

Former England star Atkinson, who was awarded and MBE in May for her services to netball, guided the Mavericks to a third-place finish in the 2014 season but now leaves the club due to personal circumstances.

Atkinson, is being linked with the vacant role at fellow franchise Loughborough Lightning along with her former international midcourt partner, and Team Bath coach, Olivia Murphy. Both were former students of the university and could be tempted to join the club who failed to record a win last season.

Meanwhile Hatfield-based Mavericks have secured an experienced and exciting set of coaches to replace their outgoing team.

Sam Bird will take up the Head Coach position. She has an extensive coaching career including nine years at Mavericks and NPL levels. Bird played for England, representing every age group U16, U18, U21 and senior levels as a midcourt player.

Her assistant coaches will be Amanda Newton, who has represented England in defence and captained the England squad in the 2007 World Championships, and Mel Mansfield, a former England shooter who worked with Surrey Storm in 2013 and is head coach at the University of Hertfordshire. Maggie Jackson will become Director of Performance.