Belfast Telegraph

Toner is eyeing title after move to Team Bath

Netball

Safe hands: Fionnuala Toner
Safe hands: Fionnuala Toner

By Richard Bullick

Wing defence Fionnuala Toner has her sights set on becoming a British SuperLeague title winner after switching from London Pulse to Team Bath.

Having previously played with the now defunct Team Northumbria, the Northern Ireland vice-captain joined new franchise Pulse ahead of last season.

She was named Player of the Match as the newcomers made a winning start against Severn Stars, but Pulse picked up only one more victory in their remaining 17 matches.

Described as a world-class player by Northern Ireland head coach Dan Ryan, Toner's talent was wasted at Pulse, but Bath can match her ambitions.

The most successful franchise in SuperLeague history, Bath were edged out 57-54 in last season's semi-finals by Northern Ireland captain Caroline O'Hanlon's Manchester Thunder, who went on to win the title.

Along with Wasps Netball, Loughborough Lightning and Saracens Mavericks, Bath will hope to challenge champions Thunder for the northern hemisphere's top prize next season.

"It was an easy decision to come to Team Bath after encouraging conversations with (head coach) Anna Stembridge and I'm excited to be a part of what she is building here," said Toner.

"I always want to test myself against the best and, after facing Australia and New Zealand at the World Cup, am relishing the forthcoming SuperLeague campaign with this ambitious team."

Stembridge is delighted with her new recruit, describing Toner as "a great signing".

"She's versatile, very good at winning ball and a fearless character on court," said Stembridge.

"She's also very experienced and knows what it takes to be the best you can be against world-class opposition.

"Off the court, Fi is incredibly bright, super organised and considered, traits that are reflected in her game."

Although likely to feature for Bath at wing defence, Toner is set to be deployed in the back circle for Northern Ireland's European Championships opener against Wales at Antrim Forum next Friday.

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