Women's quartet all agree new deals

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Garnet Mackinder, Flo Robinson, Lottie Holland and Merryn Doidge are the latest names to agree new deals with the Exeter Chiefs Women's side ahead of the 2021/22 season

By Mark Stevens

In what has already been a busy news week for Susie Appleby, the Exeter Chiefs Women’s head coach has today confirmed four more of her squad have committed their immediate futures to the club.

Backs Merryn Doidge, Lottie Holland, Garnet Mackinder and Flo Robinson – all of whom played key roles in helping the Chiefs establish themselves in the Allianz Premier 15s last season – have all agreed terms ahead of the new 2021/22 season.

The announcement is a further boost for Appleby, who is fast recruiting many of her talented squad from last season, which finished their debut campaign in sixth place.

“We’ve been working incredibly hard on getting the squad in place for the new season,” explained Appleby. “Already we’ve made a number of announcements in terms of people re-signing, but we’ve got a few more to do yet!

“Obviously, I am delighted that this latest group we’re announcing are staying with us. Each of them have really bought into what we are wanting to achieve as a squad and I’ve no doubt that they will continue to do so again next season.

“In terms of both Flo and Merryn, it’s fantastic that we’ve seen them break into the England squad in this last year. Speaking with Simon Middleton (England coach) he’s said that he’s seen real growth in both of them – and equally we’ve seen the same at club level.

“You can see they are both growing in confidence all the time and I’ve challenged them both to come back from England and use that confidence to help take us forward. Flo is a fantastic talent and someone who just absorbs everything that you tell her and then she goes out and does it.

“Merryn, in a lot of ways, does exactly the same and together they are our real stars for the future. In Merryn’s case, in particular, she is someone who has grown up in Cornwall, come through the system as such, and is now really a leading light for young players across the region to look up to.”

Both are expected to feature prominently next season as are Holland and Mackinder, whose experience in the back division proved invaluable for the Chiefs during their maiden season in the women’s top flight.

“We brought Garnet home last season and she really, really enjoyed playing,” added Appleby. “What she brought in terms of here experience, her leadership and her skill-set, it was brilliant. Equally, Lottie was having a great season with us, until she got injured, which was a real disappointment for both us and her.

“Now, like all the girls, she’s raring to go again and I think she will be really competitive in terms of challenging for a spot in the side, either on the wing or in the centre.”

Exeter Chiefs Women will begin their preparations for the new Allianz Premier 15s season with a pre-season friendly against Wasps Ladies on Saturday, August 21 at Sandy Park. Tickets for this game are FREE and can be obtained by clicking here

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