Jets ready for ‘enormous’ play-off challenge
TEAM JETS travel to Hull today knowing they will lose the right to play home fixtures if they fail to avoid relegation from Premier League 3.
The Islanders, who finished ninth in the third tier of English netball this term, will battle to retain their status as one of the country’s top 30 clubs this weekend, with just three spots in the national league up for grabs for 2019/20.
Fellow PL3 strugglers Kent County and Hertford Hornets will also be scrapping for survival, alongside nine regional league winners bidding for promotion.
Relegation back into the regional pyramid would prevent Jets from hosting games next season, as England Netball funding would not cover flights for visiting sides. Linda Andrews’ team would instead need to play home and away fixtures on the mainland, and double up to save costs.
However, having survived the same battle last season the Caesareans approach tomorrow and Sunday with confidence.
‘We have been here before and will be calling on the established players in the squad especially, Jacy Brown and Josie Le Masurier, to help the youngsters through it,’ said Andrews.
‘Our form has been great over the past few months so we are heading into play-offs on an upward trajectory and we have strength in depth in all areas of the court.
‘Many of the teams have tried several times to gain a coveted place in the Premier League, but we have prepared meticulously with a strong squad who are ready to take on the enormous challenge of potentially four games in two days.’
Jets meet East Midlands Regional League Division I champions Hinckley Hurricanes in their first match tomorrow lunchtime [12.15pm], before facing north-east winners Riverside at 3.30pm. Yorkshire contenders Hi-Tech follow on Sunday morning in the final Group B game [9.30], with the top two progressing into one of three winner-takes-all clashes against leading sides from groups A or C.
Andrews added: ‘It is a privilege to be one of the top 30 clubs in the UK and this is the standard of netball we need to be playing for the development of our players.
‘Every game is a challenging game and this allows the players and coaches to keep striving to better themselves. Team Jets is a performance club and we need this level of competition in the Island.
‘While it would be great to have a team in regional league this would be a major set back for us – not only the cost of travelling for every game and having to play double headers, but also there not being any top flight netball for our loyal spectators to enjoy.
‘It is important that we manage the whole squad well to rest legs and minds to enable us to achieve our goal of keeping our position in Premier League 3.’
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