Strathclyde Sirens cap off best ever season by scooping two coveted prizes
With a full season behind them and ten wins and two draws under their belt, Strathclyde Sirens are celebrating their best ever league performance since their inception in 2017.
Having just narrowly missed out on a top four finish in the Vitality Netball Superleague, the Scottish outfit surpassed all expectations, causing a number of upsets along the way.
With games being held behind closed doors in Wakefield and London due to the pandemic, the Sirens racked up the most miles throughout the league travelling away every weekend. Despite being on the road and without a home crowd to cheer them on through the season, the Scottish franchise did not let it affect their performances and ended up sixth in the 11-team league.
Recognition for their achievements came in the form of awards for two of the club’s most influential figures.
Karen Atkinson, the Sirens technical director, was named Vitality Netball Superleague Coach of the Year, whilst standout player Towera Vinkhumbo was awarded the Players’ Player of the Year award as well as taking the goal keeper position in the league’s All Stars VII.
Atkinson said: “Our target this year was to change the mentality of the squad, knowing that if we improved how we approached games, increased our workrate alongside playing with determination and togetherness we would have what was required to compete with the top clubs and the positive results would follow.
“In terms of the experience within our squad and perhaps a lack of household names compared to some of the other teams in the league, we went far beyond what people expected from the Sirens this season.
“We have surprised a lot of people, however within the camp our final placing certainly did not surprise us. It was great to show the netball community and fans just what we were capable of.
“It has been an excellent campaign but we are under no illusion that next season will be easy and there is even more work for us to do if we are aiming to break into the top four. In the meantime, I’m pleased to receive the Coach of the Year award, although it was a team effort amongst all the coaches here at Strathclyde Sirens and we can all be very proud of the achievement.”
Although renowned for their attacking play, the Sirens star player of the season was defender Vinkhumbo. Imperious at the back, the Malawi internationalist had an outstanding
campaign for the Scottish side after being a late recruit to cover Zanele Vimbela, who suffered a long-term injury during pre-season.
Towera was head and shoulders above anyone else in the league in terms of intercepts with 60, creating 93 turnovers and adding 56 deflections to her impressive tally throughout the 20 rounds of fixtures.
“It was my first season with the Sirens so my goal was to quickly adapt to the way the team played and try to perform to the best of my abilities,” Vinkhumbo said. “We were close to a top four finish so I’m delighted both for the team and being able to play my part in this achievement, picking up the Players Player of the Year along the way.”