News & Achievements

Cornish Netball star commutes… to Australia

16 year old Truro High School student, Lottie Richardson has just achieved what elite European netball players 5 years older can only dream of; to be snapped up by one of Australia's top clubs, Manly Warringah, based at the Institute of Sport in Sydney. As the current New South Wales state champions, Manly has signed Lottie to play in their 1st Team for the 2012 season.

Lottie’s move to play on the other side of the world began in August, when she caught the eye of some of Australia’s most powerful netball coaches. And when they discovered she was Australian by birth, the process began. “Australia and New Zealand are the epicentre of world netball, so to be recognised at my age to play alongside senior international and ANZ players in the state championship is very flattering”, she said. “My ambition is to be a professional, and currently the Southern Hemisphere is the only place where this is possible.”

The huge media coverage and brand support of the ANZ Bank sponsored Australian and New Zealand Netball Championship is the lucrative driver for the professional sport down under. Which is why most England netballers aspire to play there. “Netball is taken so much more seriously in Australia. And importantly, elite players are respected for being the athletes we have to be.”

Lottie is a Cornish netball prodigy; Having first competed with adults in the South West Regional League Division 1 at just 12, Lottie then went onto being the youngest ever to play for Team Bath’s U19, National Talent League side aged 13. A record which still stands! National caps followed with Great Britain U19’s and England U17’s. Along with winners medals for the 2010 European Festival in Malta and the 2011 European Championships in Dublin.

But is this talented youngster turning her back on England and the South West? “Absolutely not”, Lottie explained. “Falmouth will always be home as my parents live there. And I am still studying for my A levels at Truro High School. But to complete those studies, I will commute several times throughout the year between Truro and Sydney. Yes, its going to be a bit more than my normal annual 30,000 miles for my sport. But time spent traveling will be similar, as I will be doing 500mph instead of 50! Plus, I cannot let my school down as they have been amazing. The Headmistress, Caroline Pascoe and all my teachers have made the decision very easy. They totally supported me to say yes to the opportunity, stating they will do what is necessary to get me through my A levels.”

Lottie started at Truro High School as a 4 year old, and is determined to complete her education there. She also plans to continue the association for years to come with Redruth’s, Carn Brea Storm, her Cornwall club. “With what I can achieve in Australia, I hope to inspire youngsters at Storm to do the same.”

Another local association set to continue is with her personal trainer, Rob Smaldon, who is based at the Tremough Campus Gym in Penryn. When most people will be relaxing over the Christmas and New Year break, Rob will be pushing Lottie in her challenging daily fitness programme, before she jets off from the grip of winter for January training in the Australian sun. “There’s no chance of sun bathing though. I’ve got to keep up the hard work in the gym and on court and show why they signed me. It is going to be challenging, but I am up to it”, she added. “When I return at the end of January, I hope to have more exciting news”.

Published by: Darren Stevens

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