Manchester will host Europe’s first ever Fast Net netball tournament featuring elite domestic teams in January.
The Cathedral City Lighter Fast Net Grand Prix will see the country’s eight Superleague netball teams battle it out for national glory.
The competition, backed by Manchester City Council, has been divided into northern and southern conferences, with the northern conference being held at the city’s Wright Robinson Sports Arena on January 7 and the southern tournament taking place a day later in Surrey.
Manchester’s Superleague team, Northern Thunder, along with Yorkshire Jets, Team Northumbria and Loughborough Lightning will make up the Northern Conference, with the top two sides going through to face the their southern counterparts in the finals night in Surrey.
The announcement of the Fast Net competition comes just days after England were crowned world champions of the shorter version of netball.
Fast Net is netball’s version of Twenty20 cricket – it’s a shorter form of the sport with the rules changed to maximise the spectacle. Quarters last six minutes instead of the traditional 15 while rolling subs can be made throughout play and goals can be scored from outside of the shooting circle to earn a team two points.
As is vogue with modern forms of sport aimed at entertainment the cliché term power play is involved, with teams being able to opt to take their power play in one quarter and for that period all goals are doubled in value.
Martyn Wilks, Executive Managing Director of Dairy Crest, one of the tournament’s sponsors, said: “Netball is a sport I love to watch and at the Fast Net Grand Prix and Netball Superleague level it is extremely quick and skilful.
“For those who have long thought of taking in netball at its very best in the UK, I would urge you to head down to your local franchise during the season, as I do, or head along to the new Fast Net format.”
Matches will be televised on Sky Sports and tickets are available for the tournament from www.thundernetball.com