Home Sports News British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship: Nat Panagarry to lead Loughborough Lightning

British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship: Nat Panagarry to lead Loughborough Lightning

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British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship: Nat Panagarry to lead Loughborough Lightning

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Watch the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 1pm on Saturday; the competition will also be streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel for viewers in the UK and Ireland

Last Updated: 28/10/21 10:13am

Nat Panagarry will have a busy day at the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship in a player-coach role (Image credit: Morgan Harlow)

Nat Panagarry will have a busy day at the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship in a player-coach role (Image credit: Morgan Harlow)

Nat Panagarry is set for a busy British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship this weekend, as she takes on a player-coach role for the defending champions Loughborough Lightning.

The England international will be at the helm and be supported on the bench by Louise Hopkin, Loughborough Lightning’s U21 assistant coach.

On Saturday afternoon, the Copper Box Arena will host Lightning, Strathclyde Sirens, Saracens Mavericks, Wasps, Manchester Thunder, Leeds Rhinos Netball, Team Bath Netball and London Pulse, as the Championship returns for the first time since 2019.

Every match of the competition will be live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix, as well as being streamed on the Sky Sports’ YouTube channel for viewers in the UK and Ireland.

The last time that the Championship was played, Lightning swept aside their rivals and took home the £100,000 prize fund. At that point, Panagarry was one of the England Vitality Roses players who was resting following a tour.

“I remember that I was jumping up and down my living room watching Jo Harten shooting away, especially in that final, and I was loving it.”

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This time around, the 30-year-old will be at the heart of proceedings both on and off the court, and she explained to Sky Sports how her dual role came about.

“I wasn’t expecting it, Panagarry shared. “However, the opportunity came up and I thought that it would be a good tournament to see what happens.

“As a player, you don’t really realise all of the work that goes on behind the scenes, with all the meetings and talking about tactics. So, I thought it was a good one to ease me in and see what the coaches do behind the scenes.

“Also, to have a little bit of fun. I’m not putting great pressure on myself [as a coach] nor on the team. Though, back-to-back titles would be great, of course!”

The Fast5 Draw took place live on Sky Sports News (Image credit: Matchroom)

The Fast5 Draw took place live on Sky Sports News (Image credit: Matchroom)

One of the many unique features about the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship, alongside 12-minute matches and different scoring zones, is the tournament’s format.

A double-elimination group stage starts proceedings and if a team wins twice, they will advance straight to the semi-finals. If a side suffers from two losses, then they will be knocked out!

Loughborough Lightning finished last year's regular season by lifting the trophy and ending a 15-year wait for a title (Image credit: Morgan Harlow)

Loughborough Lightning finished last year’s regular season by lifting the trophy and ending a 15-year wait for a title (Image credit: Morgan Harlow)

Lightning’s opening contest will be against Strathclyde Sirens. Panagarry simply wants her players to enjoy themselves, after all, the Championship has landed at the end of just their second week of pre-season training.

“It’s going to be about a lot of the girls having court time, and it will be exciting for the fans to see our new players in Lightning colours,” she said.

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“With Fast5, as the name suggests, it is fast and there’s a lot more space. So, I’d like to girls to enjoy and embrace that. For the shooters, it’s just going to be about putting up those shots and having a go.

“In a Fast5 situation, some of it depends on what happens on the day, really anything can happen. We’ve got Ella Clark who is really comfortable in that three-point range [being a dual netball and basketball international] and that’s going to be exciting for her.

Ella Clark should thrive in a Fast5 environment (Image credit: Ben Lumley)

Ella Clark should thrive in a Fast5 environment (Image credit: Ben Lumley)

“Mary [Cholhok] has been going for fives and threes in training too. On the day, we’re going to ask her to go for it [from anywhere] and see what happens, because you only get one opportunity to play Fast5.”

Alongside the excitement of three and five-point shots, Lighting will showcasing a new defensive partnership, as Fran Williams and Zanele Vimbela join forces at the other end of the court for the first time.

The signing of both players by Sara Francis-Bayman made a statement during the Vitality Netball Superleague’s 2022 signing window and Panagarry has shared that they’ve settled in well already.

“Fran and Zan, it sounds good doesn’t it!? And, they’ve been amazing,” Lightning’s title-winning captain noted.

“With Zan, she’s had some time away from the course due to her injury, but she’s been working really hard and has been looking great.

“We all know what Fran’s like, she’s a great player and she’s hungry for it as well. I’m excited for her to get in a Lightning dress and be seen in the purple for the first time.”

Watch the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 1pm on Saturday; there will also be a free stream on the Sky Sports YouTube channel for viewers in the UK and Ireland.



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