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Fast5 action underway with some stellar NSL performances

05.11.2022 Action during the Fast 5 Netball World Series 2022 between England and South Africa at the Christchurch Arena in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mandatory Photo Credit ©Michael Bradley.

The Fast5 Netball World Series opened with a bang in New Zealand, with Australia the only team to emerge unbeaten from day one.

The world’s top six teams took to the court in Christchurch in a round-robin to mark the first edition of the series in four years.

Last time out, New Zealand took the title but an incredible opening-day performance from the undefeated Australia, alongside the impressive South Africa and England, could see a new champion crowned.

As the action got underway, the Fast5 NWS also saw the inclusion of a men’s competition for the first ever time as the hosts, Australia and England all fielded teams.

Paige Reed breaking hearts in New Zealand

It was a promising first day for the Vitality Roses, who won two of their three matches.

Leeds Rhinos summer signing Paige Reed was perhaps the star of the show, and she snatched victory against New Zealand and Uganda with two last-gasp efforts.

The Vitality Roses beat New Zealand 32-31 and Uganda 38-35, with their only defeat coming against South Africa, who beat them 32-26.

Reed made the difference against New Zealand, striking a nail-biting six-pointer in the final seconds to cause an upset.

In the final quarter against Uganda, Reed grabbed a staggering 17 points from only six attempts at goal.

The Leeds Rhinos shooter ramped it up in the closing stages of the match to cut Uganda’s lead and bring the Vitality Roses to within two points with less than 60 seconds left.

And with a turnover from Uganda’s centre pass, the shooter went for six once more with a penalty just outside the shooting circle, as England prevailed.

The match ended with a moment of controversy though as Reed’s goal did not initially count and was only included after the final whistle was blown.

The Ugandan cheers were silenced as the penalty was reinstated and Reed ensured The Vitality Roses ended day one in style.

Mary Cholhok shines for the She Cranes

Confidence and composure were the key to Loughborough Lightning Mary Cholhok’s performance in Uganda’s first ever outing at a Fast5 NWS tournament.

The She Cranes put up a spirited performance against England, the win snatched away from them in the dying seconds of the match, while they opened with a 49-32 defeat to New Zealand.

But Uganda undoubtedly became the crowd’s unofficial second team as they secured a 33-32 win against Jamaica.

Cholhok is well known for her calm demeanour in the circle, but the shooter led her team to a comfortable 10-goal lead at half-time against the Sunshine Girls before securing the win.

The shooter chipped away at two-point shots throughout and has marked her team as the one to watch for the future.

Nicola Smith propels South Africa second on day one

The SPAR Proteas emerge from the first day of Fast5 action in second place with wins over England and Jamaica under their belt.

Leeds Rhinos signing and defender Nicola Smith made herself a nuisance in the Vitality Roses’ circle, denying Manchester Thunder player Lois Pearson will some well-timed blocks in their 32-26 win.

Despite a 25-19 loss to Australia, who sit top of the table undefeated after the first day of netball, Smith helped her team bounce back against Jamaica in their final game of the day.

After a low-scoring start to the game, which saw Jamaica ahead 3-2 at the end of the first quarter, South Africa were able to creep back in the final quarter and secured the 28-27 win in the final seconds.

First ever men’s competition in Fast5 NWS history

It was a historic moment as Australia and England stepped onto the court and opened the first-ever FAST5 NWS men’s competition.

Australia dominated the day with a 29-20 win over England and 31-24 victory over New Zealand before the round robin concludes and final takes place tomorrow.

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