The Fast 5 Netball – Wow

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Last Saturday I woke up at 3 in the morning to spend a bit of time on my couch watching King Kallis and the Mighty # continue their domination of an Australian side that had spent day 1 of the test chasing leather. Of course, to my frustration, the only thing that the pitch saw that day was rain. As a result, a now wide awake Jabu was left to channel surf. As I started doing this I came across some Netball. Now as a man I am often akin to watching netball as that would lead to chirps about me involving Justin Bieber that would be just downright painful. But on this day, netball won me over as a real high quality sport. And for the next two hours I sat (Actually I was lying down) and watched what is known as Fast 5 netball.

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Vanes-Mari du Toit of South Africa and Jhaniele Fowler of Jamaica compete for the ball in the match between Jamaica and South Africa

Fast 5 netball is the netball equivalent of T20 cricket or 7’s rugby. It is a short and fast weekend series that involves 5 a side netball of four quarters of 6 minutes. But what really grabbed my attention was the fact that you could score 2 point and 3 point shots from further out. Each team also got one quarter which they deem their powerplay. In this quarter all points scored by a team would be tripled meaning that one individual basket (i think thats what you call it) would result in 6 points. As this is a new invention in Netball and this was the first series with the new rules, South Africa’s Chrisna Bootha become the first player in history to hit the magical 3 point goal and team mate Maryka Holtzhauzen became the first ever player to throw a 6 point goal.

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Maryke Holtzhauzen of South Africa looks to pass

What I really liked about the Fast 5 was the whole carnival like atmosphere that can be experienced at T20 and Sevens Rugby. It was also the fact that 20 games were played over 3 days in an exciting and action-packed tournament. I think that the governing bodies of netball definitely have a winning formula here and one that will finally help netball to become a global game. And of course one of my stand out memories, as you all know my love for gangnam style, was the NZ Fast 5 Ferns doing the gangnam style before the final! What legends.

So here are the basic differences:
Teams: 10 player squads with 5 on the field. No Wing Attack or Wing Defence
Centre Pass: Not alternated, always goes to the team that just conceded.
Power Play: Each team gets to choose a quarter where their points are doubled.
Goals: Are now 3, 2 and 1 point goals depending on the distance from the pole.

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A breakdown of the court used for Fast5

So how did the South African team fair? While the South African Spar Ladies finished in their best finish in an international tournament since they won silver at the world championships in Birmingham in 1995 when they came home with the Bronze medal in the bag. This was done after beating the Jamaican Sunshine Girls in the third place playoff with an epic 38-34 win. The team were represented by Nadia Uys, Amanda Mynhardt, the brilliant Bongiwi Msomi, Karla Mostert, captain Simnikiwe Mdaka, Tsakane Mbewe, Mayrke Holtzhauzen, Mari du Toi, sharp shooter Chrisna Bootha and Nontle Gwavu.

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Mwai Kumwenda (Malawi), Laura Langman (New Zealand), Nadine Byron (Jamaica), Elissa Macleod (Australia), Siminikiwie Mdaka (South Africa) and Eboni Beckford-Chambers (England)

Results for the Inaugural Fast 5 World Series:
Group Stage
Spar Proteas 34-25 Sunshine Girls (Jamaica)
England Fives 29-27 Fast 5 Diamonds (Australia)
Fast 5 Ferns 38-38 Sunshine Girls
Queens (Malawi) 33-15 Fast 5 Diamonds
England Fives 41-27 Spar Proteas
Sunshine Girls 32-31 Queens
Fast 5 Ferns 31-23 Fast 5 Diamonds
England Fives 39-28 Sunshine Girls
Fast 5 Ferns 44-24 Queens
Fast 5 Diamonds 27-28 Spar Proteas
England Fives 23-27 Queens
Fast 5 Ferns 52-19 Spar Proteas
Fast 5 Diamonds 33-34 Sunshine Girls
Spar Proteas 48-34 Queens
Fast 5 Ferns 47-31 England Fives

Semi Finals
Fast 5 Ferns 52-18 Sunshine Girls
England Fives 39-15 Spar Proteas

5/6th Playoff
Queens 33-30 Fast 5 Diamonds

3/4th Playoff
Sunshine Girls 34-38 Spar Proteas

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Fast5 Ferns celebrate their victory

Fast 5 Ferns 23-21 England Fives

Read up on all the Fast 5 action right at or follow Fast 5 Netball on twitter.

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