British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship: Who will come out on top?
Coverage begins on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Action from 1pm on Saturday afternoon
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 12/10/19 5:31pm
The British Fast5 All-Stars Championships returns to the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday.
With an all-star five-point line, Golden Buzzer Power Plays and much more, it is no wonder that All-Star Jo Harten cannot wait to get on court.
The inspired international shooter, who is returning to her former side Loughborough Lightning, is one of the All-Star picks for the 2019 championships and is set to light up the court in London.
Back for a third year, this much-loved format includes 12-minute matches and starts with a Double Elimination Round. Every moment will be shown live on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Action from 1pm on Saturday.
"It will be fun. The crowd seem to get behind this format, they love the fast pace and the tenacity of the game," Harten told Sky Sports.
"Obviously with the Power Plays, there's moments of pressure throughout the short games.
"I'm looking forward to it. The only bit that I won't be looking forward to are the lungs - having to get out for a Centre Pass and there's only you to be an option! It's a little bit of pressure, but really you've just got to get the job done as efficiently as possible."
Harten and Lightning have been drawn against Manchester Thunder in the opening round, while defending champions Wasps Netball will meet Severn Stars.
Team Bath will clash with Celtic Dragons and the final opening match will see Surrey Storm take on Saracens Mavericks.
The All-Star Picks
With teams having the option of drafting in All-Star picks for this championship (Harten being one of them), we take a look at some of the 'ringers' to keep a close eye on...
Jo Harten (Loughborough Lightning)
First, let's talk about the England shooter who always plays with her heart on her sleeve - be it Test match or club match, Harten gives it her all.
Harten is coming off the back of five weeks without touching a netball, having had a well-deserved break post Suncorp.
Although she Is modest about how things might go on Saturday when it comes to the long bombs, we are looking forward to the shooter giving Rachel Dunn a run for her money!
"We're not about the one-points at Loughborough apparently! We're only going for the fives…", Harten said with a smile.
"It is what it is, you have to take the embarrassment if you do an air-ball! I'm keen for it, I got better last night, I got better this morning, so hopefully..."
Stacey Francis (Team Bath)
Stacey Francis is back in Blue & Gold for a second year as Team Bath's All-Star pick, and the 31-year-old is loving being back.
"Playing for Bath, it's really special. I think that as netball continues to become more professional, loyalty, passion and choosing clubs for those reasons tends to start to go away from the game," Francis told Sky Sports at the live draw.
"Bath is definitely responsible for making me the player that I am and for launching my professional career.
"So the opportunity to go back, and to be welcomed, having left on great terms, is lovely. It's like going home. It's really nice to go back and to work with new and old players."
"Celtic Dragons and Bath has always been a fierce rivalry, they're obviously the closest opponents in terms of distance and there's no love lost between them and us! I'm sure you'll see a fierce contest in those first 12 minutes. "
Stacey Francis discussing Team Bath's opener
Jhaniele Fowler (Saracens Mavericks)
Jhaniele Fowler needs no introduction! The Jamaica international has won back-to-back MVP awards for West Coast Fever, and the player of the year award, plus she has 56 caps to her name for the Sunshine Girls.
As one of Saracens Mavericks' All-Stars, Fowler will look to be at the heart of their work, with Ama Agbeze also trying to help last year's runners-up go one step further.
The afternoon will start with the Double Elimination Round, with the first matches decided by the live draw at Sky Sports earlier this week.
Two victories and teams will progress immediately into the semi-finals, two losses and that is their Fast5 Championship campaign over. It is all or nothing!
Fast5 All-Stars Challenge
Ahead of this competition and the Women's Super League showdown between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, Sasha and Kadeen Corbin faced Spurs players Jenna Schillaci and Angela Addison in a netball versus football grudge match.
The Fast5 All-Stars Challenge took place at the Copper Box and included a Blindfolded 5-Pointer and the Crossbar Challenge.
The competitive juices flowed, so take a look at how our netballing pair sealed their victory in the video below...
⭐️ FAST5 ALL-STAR CHALLENGE ⭐️— Fast5 All-Stars (@Fast5allstars) October 9, 2019
Here's what you've all been waiting for! @Kadeen_Corbin and @Sasha_Corbin going head to head against @JennaSchillaci and @Angelaaddison_ of @SpursWomen 🍿
🤔 Who will win in a best of 5️⃣ challenges? Find out now! #Fast5AllStars pic.twitter.com/0EXFN5nRi2
The defending champions
Wasps Netball were led to the title last year by the electric Rachel Dunn and her incredible accuracy when it came to sinking the long bombs.
Head coach Mel Mansfield has selected a strong squad again this year. Dunn is set to enjoy the pinpoint distribution of Jade Clarke and Hannah Knights will lead their charge in the defensive end.
Celtic Dragons: Leila Thomas, Kyra Jones, Dee Bolakoro, Abby Tyrrell, Amy Clinton, Paige Kindred, Sophie Morgan, Lucy Herdman, Rebekah Robinson, Latanya Wilson.
Loughborough Lightning: Lucy Parize, Ella Clark, Claire Maxwell, Hannah Joseph, Suzie Liverseidge, Jamsin Odeogberin, Sam May, Annabel Roddy, Jo Harten, Alice Harvey.
Manchester Thunder: Joyce Mvula, Kathryn Turner, Ashleigh Neal, Caroline O'Hanlon, Rebekah Airey, Emma Dovey, Loreen Ngwira, Taylor Cullen, Erin Bell, Takondwa Lwazi.
Saracens Mavericks:Sasha Corbin, Kadeen Corbin, Georgia Lees, Jo Trip, Beth Ecuyer Dale, Paige McCalla, Steph Collard, Chloe Essam, Jhaniele Fowler, Ama Agbeze.
Severn Stars: Tuaine Keenan, Ella Powell-Davies, Nia Jones, Liana Leota, Lucy Harris, Bethan Dyke, Paige Reed, Georgia Rowe, Leana de Bruin, Alyssa-Jean Savelio.
Surrey Storm: Mikki Austin, Niamh Cooper, Yasmin Hodge England, Katy Hughes, Lorraine Kowalewska, Sophie Hankin, Emily Gulvin, Alima Priest, Yasmin Parsons, Karyn Bailey.
Team Bath: Laura Rudland, Betsy Creak, Hannah Passmore, Rachel Shaw, Mia Ritchie, Abigail Robson, Fionnuala Toner, Tash Pavelin, Stacey Francis, Kim Commane.
Wasps: Jade Clarke, Beth Dix, Rachel Dunn, Amy Flanagan, Katie Harris, Ally Housley, Josie Huckle, Hannah Knights, Hannah Leighton, Tamsin Moala.
Sky Sports is your home of netball and the British Fast5 All-Stars Championships starts at 1pm on Saturday while the Roses return to action under new coach Jess Thirlby when they tour South Africa in November.