Whitton girls face nervous summer wait for England call

Good times: Whitton's U16s celebrate winning gold at the Surrey tournament last week to go with their Surrey League and Nonsuch League titles to complete a unique triple

Aiming high: Teddington School's Olivia Leach

International: Whitton Netball Club's Rhea Dixon, who is a student at St George's College, Weybridge

First published in Latest Sport This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by

Two Whitton Netball club juniors face a nervous summer as they prepare for national trials.
 

St George’s College student Rhea Dixon, capped twice for England at U17 and U19 European tournaments last year, and Teddington School’s Olivia Leach are part of a group of 27 girls heading to the national academy programme trials later this year.
 

The pair helped Whitton’s senior regional netball squad to a  fourth place finish in the London & South East Region Division One table this season under the guidance of head coach Yvette Dixon - Rhea’s mum.
 

Both have also appeared for Superleague outfit Surrey Storm’s development squad this term and were selected for the London & south east regional Excel programme last year, but only Dixon won through to represent her country.
 

Whitton juniors co-founder Maggie Gaunt said: “We have been very proud this year as two of our players have done exceptionally well at a national level.
 

“To have two girls from one club reaching this level is quite exceptional and credit should be given to Yvette Dixon and Peta Neilson who have coached the girls throughout.”
 

Whitton’s junior section - set up by Gaunt and Neilson - have been running for 11 years and having started with 20 11-year-olds the club now has 130 nine to 16-year-old members.
 

Dixon and Leach were on hand to present trophies at the club’s awards night earlier this month, which saw the club’s U16s crowned team of the year after finishing the season unbeaten in the Surrey County and Nonsuch leagues.
 

To join Whitton - who train at Stanley School, Teddington, and Lady Eleanor holles School, Hampton - email maggiegaunt21@hotmail.com or look at the junior section on the club’s website whittonnetballclub.co.uk
 

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