FAST and furious

Team Cubs (in pink) beat Panthers (in purple) to win Saturday's Santander Super 5 Tournament on goal difference Picture: ROB CURRIE (37442107)

THE Santander International Super 5 tournament returned to Les Ormes, bigger and better than the inaugural event of 2023.

Spanning two days, instead of one, the showcase weekend featured players from Division 1 on Sunday, while players from Divisions 2 and 3 contested the crown the previous day.

In total, over 120 local netballers took to the court over the course of the weekend, to take part in the revolutionary format, which raised funds for Beresford Street Kitchen and Brighter Futures.

The ‘FAST5’ netball format has brought new excitement and a ‘party atmosphere’ to the sport.

Team Jets head coach Serena Kersten introduced the format to Jersey, six years after the former England captain was successful with her country at the FAST5 Netball World Series.

It features powerplays at the conclusion of each quarter, with double points on offer, and the addition of shooting zones whereby more points can be earned by shooting from range.

The scoreline can change in a heartbeat, just one of the elements that makes the format a player and fan favourite.

Jersey Netball Association president Linda Andrews said: “It’s such an exciting event for all the members of Jersey Netball to be a part of.

“It is an unfamiliar format, which in turn creates a different atmosphere and I think the players really enjoyed the challenge it presented.

“Each team had their own walk-on songs and team colours. It was a really upbeat event to be part of. The different rules regarding the shooting zones and powerplays really upped the ante.

“It adds a different dynamic if your team is down and chasing the game, there is an option to take some risks and try to close the gap.

“For coaches, it adds a skill to their armoury as tactically it offers a change from regular netball.

“The way coaches get their teams to play is different and it tests everyone in their ability to adapt.”

Teams were selected in an “American-style” draft system, in an attempt to make each side competitive and add to the drama.

It also gave players an opportunity to compete alongside unfamiliar faces, outside of their Team Jets or local netball sides.

“I think everyone embraced playing with different teammates,” Andrews continued.

“You get very accustomed to being with the same group, so fresh faces certainly brings its own challenge.

“There would have been people playing alongside each other that they haven’t before and it forces you to learn about each other very quickly.

“It was lovely to see new bonds formed and friendships develop.

“When you mix things up, it helps break down the barriers from Team Jets and the regular clubs on Island.

“It was really refreshing to hear the comments of local players that ended up on sides with current Jets players and expressing how helpful they were in lending their expertise.

“Netball has a strong community and events like these really help highlight that.”

Saturday’s contest went the way of Team Cubs, who pipped Panthers on goal difference, with Tigers rounding out the top three.

However, Panthers did lay claim to the most valuable player on the day, which went to GD/GK Summer Watkins, who was described as “a thorn in every attacker’s side”.

Sunday brought a new day and a new winner in the shape of Swifts, as the Division 1 players did battle.

Most valuable player on the day went to Team Jets stalwart Jodie Blampied.

Jersey Netball extended their gratitude to Santander International for their ongoing support, enabling events such as Super 5 Tournament to take place.

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