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Lightning, Bath and Storm confirm Fast5 squads

Loughborough Lightning Head Coach, Sara Bayman, has today confirmed her full squad ahead of this weekend’s British Fast5 All-Stars competition.

Featuring a mix of Lightning stalwarts, young talent and international players, Bayman aims to once again take her side all the way to the final after being crowned champions in 2018.

The competition form’s netball’s very own 2020 style gameplay with 10-minute matches, only five players on court at one time and a golden buzzer, which when pressed allows teams to double their points. The most exciting element of the competition, however, is the shooting points system where teams are rewarded with higher points the further out from the post the shot is made.

All-Star pickings are the icing on the cake, whereby teams can draft in netball superstars from anywhere in the world to feature in their side. With plenty of points up for grabs, teams aim to secure the best shooters in the world to bolster their team.

Last week Lightning unveiled their All-Star pick for the competition with a world-class shooter, long bomb queen and England Roses centurion, Jo Harten, returning to Loughborough Lightning for one day only after eight years away from the side.

Loughborough Lightning have Ella Clark, Hannah Joseph, Claire Maxwell, Lucy Parize, Sam May, Alice Harvey, Annabel Roddy, Jasmin Odeogberin, Suzie Liverseidge and Jo Harten (All-Star) in their squad for Saturday’s tournament.

Of her side, Bayman commented;

“I think we’ve got a really nice blend of youth and experience within our squad. Fast 5 is ultimately about having fun and players expressing themselves. We have some of the most exciting players in the world and I’m proud of the fact that Lightning alumni want to return for this tournament. It should be an incredible experience for everyone involved.”

Also featuring for Lightning for the first time is Scottish captain Claire Maxwell, who has re-signed with Strathclyde Sirens for the regular season. A mid-court powerhouse, Maxwell’s speed and ferocity on court will match the fast-paced action of the tournament and further boost Lightning’s squad.

After a live draw on Sky Sports, Lightning will face reigning Superleague champs Manchester Thunder in their opening match, with the result determining their course for the day. 

New Team Bath Netball Head Coach Jo Vann says she is looking forward to her first experience of the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championships, which are taking place in London this weekend.

Vann will be on the bench as an assistant to Superleague Head Coach Anna Stembridge for the first time since her return to the club she served so well as a player when the Copper Box Arena hosts the fast-paced, short-form version.

The ten-strong Team Bath squad includes Blue & Gold legend Stacey Francis, who is returning as a Worldwide All-Star pick for the second successive year, and new signing Fionnuala Toner.

Betsy Creak, who made her senior debut for Wales this summer, and University of Bath student Tash Pavelin are also in the squad along with 2019 Superleague players Kim Commane, Hannah Passmore, Mia Ritchie, Abi Robson, Laura Rudland and Rachel Shaw.

It is the third edition of the Fast5 Championships, an exciting addition to the annual netball calendar, and Vann cannot wait to get going in her new role alongside Stembridge.

“I’m really looking forward to my first appearance as a coach for Team Bath and it’s going to be at Fast5, which is so exciting,” she said. “There are a lot of tactics involved which are different to the traditional game and it is brilliant to watch. Anna has great experience of the event, so I can’t wait to work alongside her and the team.”

Stembridge said: “It’s fast, it’s furious, it’s really good fun and tactically I think it challenges both the coaches and athletes. The power plays and the ten-pointers mean the momentum can change so quickly and it’s just brilliant, I love it.”

Commane, who will captain the Blue & Gold, added: “I’ve been furiously practising my three and five-pointers! It’s a very different kind of game – normally as a shooter, I’d want to get closer to the posts but this time I need to get as far away as possible. It’s just so fast and very competitive.”

Team Bath have been drawn against Welsh side Celtic Dragons in their opening match. The double-elimination format means that each of the eight teams competing will play at least twice on the day.

Surrey Storm, who face Saracens Mavericks in the opening round have also named their squad with Mikki Austin taking on a player-coach role, she will be joined by new signing Karyn Bailey and Vitality Roses star Yas Parsons. Niamh Cooper, Yasmin Hodge-England, Katy Hughes, Lorraine Kowalewska, Sophie Hankin, Emily Gulvin and Alima Priest.

Surrey Storms payer-coach Mikki Austin told Sky Sports, “last year we made it to the semi-final so it will be interesting to see how we go this year” she continued “Fast5 is very much a ‘see how your shooters feel on the day kind of vibe’, every team is capable going big and shooting big on the day”

You can watch all the action live on Sky Sports and follow the day on the Vitality Netball Superleague twitter account.

To stay up to date with the Vitality Netball Superleague including player movements, tickets and the latest news make sure you sign up to the Vitality Netball Superleague mailing list, you can sign up here.

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