GB U24 Women’s Interview

Harry Mason caught up with all five captains of the Great Britain under-24 Women’s team before they jetted over to Perth. Join us as overall captain Claire Baker, D-line captains Amelia Kenneth and Bailey Melvin-Teng, and O-line captains Georgia Murphy and Alice Beeching kick off our international interviews.

What is your team philosophy? How would you describe what motivates and connects you as a team?
Georgia: We have adopted the New Zealand All Blacks’s mantra of leaving the shirt in a better place after wearing it. They play and live by this philosophy, always adding to their legacy. The idea is we treat ourselves and our opponents with respect, and that we are proud to play for Great Britain and strive to be better every day, both as individuals and as a team.

Why should people get up early/late to tune in to see GB U24 Women specifically at Worlds?
Bailey: The livestream that we’re on? If we’re being streamed, it’s almost certainly only for the semis or the finals so we reckon getting that far is a good enough reason for you to tune in!

(Editor’s note: Keep an eye on this Facebook group also!)

Who are you most looking forward to playing against? 
Amelia: Colombia.
Georgia: Colombia, good vibes first game! And Japan, cos it makes you think more.
Claire: Colombia and Japan.

What do you reckon will separate you from other elite teams?
Alice: Points.
Bailey: Spice. Spicy Points.

What is the best response you’ve got from telling someone you play for the GB U24 team?
Amelia: “Lucky you get to go to Australia! Watch out for the snakes.”
Bailey & Alice: “Have you booked your return flight..?”
Georgia: “What’s Ultimate Frisbee?”
Claire: The support & belief from one of my PhD supervisors, who since December has introduced me to all my new colleagues by telling them that next time they see me I’d have a world title!

What’s been the team preparation leading up to Worlds? What was it like playing against YAKA and Iceni?
All: Training weekends across the whole country alongside top UK club teams made for helpful and varied prep. We were super lucky that YAKA were able to fly over to the UK ahead of Euros. They were such great competition for us and it is always beneficial to play against players and styles that are less familiar. Our final training weekend was fantastically positive, shout-out to the ladies of London who came out to give us some fierce competition and forced us to work hard and maintain great energy throughout.

If you could steal one woman from the GB U24 Mixed side, who would you steal?
Claire: Ruth Nicholson, fantastic all round athlete with great grabs, visionary throws and an incredible sideline: top team player. Wishing her all the best with her recovery & know she’ll be missed in Perth!
Alice & Amelia: Bex Palmer, if she’d have us.
Georgia: Jo Lewis.

Are you guilty of wearing the GB vest too much in non-GB circumstances (e.g. at uni trainings, around the house, in bed, etc.)?
Claire: The GB vest is perfect when Uni evening trainings are so cold you don’t want to take off any layers but have to change to light/dark…
Amelia: Occasionally
Georgia, Bailey, Alice: Absolutely not, no.
Georgia: Occasionally the hat.

What’s the skill you all took longest to get right as a fresher?
Claire: Backhands, I looked forward to the flick side of drills for at least the first six months of playing!
Bailey: I pivoted on the wrong foot for a couple of months before anyone pointed it out…
Amelia: Couldn’t throw flick for ages.
Alice & Georgia: Lifting the back foot up when I threw.
Alice: “It’s style points”.

How are you going to manage the Australian heat?
All: Factor SPF 100000, staying in the shade, hydration. Hats and visors! We’ve also spent the last couple of months training in bin bags so we’ll see whether that pays off over the week!

Do you have any good chants or hype up songs?
All: Rupal Ghelani has made us a banging playlist feat. Steps and Stormzy to get us hyped in Perth, so listen out for that blasting during our warm ups.

Which two players have the best connection on-field?
Georgia, Alice, Claire, Amelia: The Scots – Gabi Starek and Helena Slater for the D-line, Ellie Taylor and Hayley Dalmon for the O-line.
Bailey: Carla Link and Alice Beeching for O.

Which players have the best connection off-field?
All: Gabi & Helena – they never stop laughing. Or talking. Ever!
Kate Gibson & Amy van Zyl come in a close second from years of juniors together.

Which spirit category do you think you’ll do best in?
All: Communication, cos we’re all well good at English.

Best friendship you’ve formed due to the U24 cycle?
Claire: Yan after living near and the online kit sale project
Alice and Bailey just had a moment, so for both of them it’s each other, or buying sports clothes from outlet stores.
Amelia: Me and service stations.
Georgia: Great Western Railway.