Lightning’s mid-courter, Towera Vinkhumbo, Donnell Wallam and Karen Atkinson all secured accolades at the Vitality Netball Superleague Awards 2021; watch the semi-finals on Saturday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Action and Mix and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel
Last Updated: 24/06/21 4:28pm
Loughborough Lightning’s Beth Cobden has been named as the 2021 Vitality Player of the Season, with Strathclyde Sirens’ Towera Vinkhumbo being selected as the Players’ Player of the Season.
The Vitality Netball Superleague Awards, which were announced on Wednesday, reward the players, coaches and umpires who excelled during the 2021 season.
Lightning’s mid-courter, who has put behind her successive ACL injuries, finished the regular season having gained 56 deflections, 44 turnovers and 24 interceptions.
Alongside Nat Panagarry and Hannah Joseph, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist has formed an exceptional mid-court unit and Lightning will look to harness their experience when they face Leeds Rhinos Netball in the first semi-final at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Semi-finals
|Saturday at 1.30pm||Loughborough Lightning vs Leeds Rhinos Netball||Live on Sky Sports Action and Mix, streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Saturday at 3.45pm||Manchester Thunder vs Team Bath Netball||Live on Sky Sports Action and Mix, streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
Towera Vinkhumbo, Strathclyde Sirens’ incredibly influential defender, was named as the Players’ Player of the Season after her outstanding campaign with the Scottish franchise.
Vinkhumbo was a late arrival at Sirens, after Zanele Vimbela suffered a long-term injury during pre-season, and Vinkhumbo’s defensive partnership with Emily Nicholl and Taylor Cullen in front of them, was outstanding.
The Malawi international led the league in terms of intercepts with 60, creating 93 turnovers and adding 56 deflections to her tally during the 20 rounds.
Vinkhumbo’s technical director at Sirens – Karen Atkinson – was voted as Coach of the Season, after leading the team to their highest placing in their history.
Atkinson, who was voted the winner by her fellow Superleague coaches, follows in the footsteps of the 2019 holder, Sara Francis-Bayman.
The Superleague is packed with young talents, but Funmi Fadoju was named as this year’s Young Player of the Season. For a player to be eligible for the award they must be 21 prior to the start of the season.
Fadoju has already been earmarked by Tamsin Greenway for England’s 2022 Commonwealth Games squad and the England Futures athlete pipped Loughborough Lightning’s Alice Harvey and the Strathclyde Sirens’ duo of Niamh McCall and Emma Barrie to the post.
To select the 2021 ‘All Star VII‘, teams were asked to pick out who they thought was the best player in each position, but were not allowed to vote for any of their own squad members. After that, those who achieved the most votes created the final standout seven.
Vitality Netball Superleague All Star VII 2021
|GK: Towera Vinkhumbo|
|GD: Layla Guscoth|
|WD: Laura Malcolm|
|C: Serena Guthrie|
|WA: Brie Grierson|
|GA: Eleanor Cardwell|
|GS: Kim Borger|
Donnell Wallam was named as the Sky Sports Fans’ Player of the Season after an online vote through the Vitality Netball Superleague. The Australian, who will miss the semi-finals due to returning home after a family bereavement, has flourished under the leadership of Dan Ryan.
Alongside her athleticism and shooting accuracy, the partnerships she formed with Brie Grierson and Rhea Dixon were incredible.
Wallam’s lay-up shots and ability to score while falling out of court always drew gasps from those watching, no matter how many times she had done it before!
Loughborough Lightning’s Mary Cholhok won the Gilbert Golden Shot for scoring the most goals in the regular season. Her tally of 772 goals, with a success rate of 88 per cent, bodes well for Lightning moving into finals weekend.
Finally, Louise Travis won the Umpire of the Season award. Travis has officiated Grand Finals in the past and was voted as the winner by the Vitality Netball Superleague Umpire appointment panel.
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Saturday, with the semi-finals live on Sky Sports Action and Mix and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 1.30pm.