Anya takes the road less travelled

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ANYA LE MONNIER was handed her Vitality Superleague debut on Saturday, having become part of the fabric for Team Bath in recent years.

The former Team Jets mid-courter has progressed through the coaching ranks at a startling pace – all the way from the west-country club’s under-15s to her current role of U21s head coach.

Despite Le Monnier’s coaching endeavours for Team Bath, her burning desire to compete at the top level of the sport never cooled. A desire and dream that was realised during Bath’s latest Superleague fixture against Wasps.

‘It couldn’t have been a better debut,’ said Le Monnier, despite a 62-50 defeat for her side.

‘About nine minutes into the game Anna [Stembridge, head coach] called me up and asked me to put the wing defence jersey on.

‘I then stayed on court for the entirety of the match, which for a debut is pretty unheard of.

‘I was just so excited to be out there and loved being with the team.’

It has been a turbulent time of late for Bath, who have had to display how vital squad depth is.

Several elite squad players have missed time due to Covid-related issues and the importance of the entire squad has been evidenced.

Le Monnier had been named in previous matchday squads but always remained unused.

She added: ‘I think it is really important to show that everyone’s journey is different.

‘It’s easy to see players in the top sides and think that it has come easy and they have breezed into the position they are in.

‘I would like my story to show other aspiring players that not every journey is linear.

‘I have waited a long time for this opportunity and it was that perseverance that Anna praised after my debut.’

The juggling act between playing and coaching is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Le Monnier will lead U21s training, which typically lasts two hours, and then jump into player mode immediately as first-team training starts.

The timely integration of another Jersey product into the Superleague has not been lost on the player/coach.

Bath stalwart Serena Guthrie announced last week that she is stepping away from the game after revealing that she is expecting her first child.

‘Hopefully I can keep that Jersey connection going in the mid-court,’ said Le Monnier.

‘I really hope that I can continue to be a role model for young girls aspiring to play netball on the Island.

‘We have been very fortunate to have that Jersey link through Team Bath and, if I can continue to help fly that flag for everyone back home, that would be brilliant.’

Despite achieving her dream, the Jersey native does not plan on slowing up any time soon.

Her mindset is still focused on the success of the U21 side, as well as setting her sights on a starting-seven role for the first team.

‘I am certainly not going to be moving away from the coaching,’ she explained. ‘It is a delicate balancing act, but I really enjoy serving as a bridge between the U21 side and their progression to the first team.

‘Meanwhile, I will try to contribute to the Superleague side in any capacity that they need me in.

‘Whether that be cheering on from the sidelines, or assisting in training – to suiting up and being a key member of the side.

‘I will always be there to assist in whichever role I am needed in.’

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