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.
馃摳 In @LboroLightning colours, @Jarten is in the house and talking @Fast5allstars, @EnglandNetball and more with @hannahjwilkes 馃檶馃徎 pic.twitter.com/PXoLSu5niX
— Sky Sports Netball (@SkyNetball) October 8, 2019
“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…”
Ps can鈥檛 wait for @runlikeforrest to yell at me on the sidelines. FUN 馃槣 https://t.co/I3fZrj0wBD
— Jo Harten (@Jarten) October 2, 2019
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.
View this post on Instagram
A fun morning @skynetball with frenemies for the LIVE @fast5allstars draw… I can't wait to get out on court this weekend and back in the 馃挋+馃挍!! Drop an emoji below to show how you're going to be watching… #TeamBath #Family #BlueandGold #BritishFast5 #AllStar #netball
“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.”