Posted 12th Oct 2019

Fast5 Champs provide an “invaluable opportunity” for learning and experience as Blue & Gold start pre-season preparations

Anna Stembridge says that Team Bath Netball’s younger players will have learnt plenty from their experience at the 2019 British Fast5 Netball All-Star Championships.

The Blue & Gold played their part in two hugely entertaining contests at a sell-out Copper Box Arena in London but failed to progress after being beaten 40-28 by Celtic Dragons and 36-23 by Saracens Mavericks.

The latter match finished three seconds early after the netball hoop was snapped by a long-range shot from Hannah Passmore (pictured), who was experiencing the Fast5 competition for the first time.

Superleague Head Coach Stembridge said: “Obviously we were disappointed to not get a win out of the two games but we thoroughly enjoyed the competition.

“It was brilliant to get the opportunity to expose some of our younger and less-experienced athletes like Hannah, who is only 18, to that type of environment and pressure.

“While you try and simulate that type of experience in training and pre-season it just isn’t the same, so that in itself made the event an invaluable opportunity for the players and us as a team.

“The shooting in the competition, this year in particular, was sublime and the impact of those long-range shooters in the power plays was just sensational, proving a real challenge for any opponent – Jo Harten put on an absolute masterclass.”

England international Harten was named as Most Valuable Player after inspiring Loughborough Lightning to overall victory, scoring 58 of their 61 points in the final against Wasps.

Harten wasn’t the only now Australia-based player to return to her former club, with Team Bath legend Stacey Francis wearing the famous Blue & Gold once again for a second successive Fast5 tournament.

“Having Stacey back in the Blue & Gold was brilliant, not only from a playing perspective but in relation to her leadership on and off the court,” said Stembridge. “Those playing with and against her will have gained a lot from having her back in our environment.

“Having been part of Fast5 this weekend, we are now even more excited to get going with our Vitality Superleague pre-season programme and showcase our 2020 squad to our fans!”

Details of Team Bath’s pre-season fixtures will be announced shortly. Tickets are on sale for the nine Superleague fixtures being played at the Team Bath Arena in 2020 – click here for more information.

Picture credit: Joe Pinchin/Matchroom Multi Sport

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