British Fast5 Netball All-Stars. The scene at London's Copper Box Arena. Pic Jamie McPhilimey/ Matchroom MultiSport.

Harten Heartbreak For Celtic Dragons As Lightning Strike To Win British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Title

England international Jo Harten broke Celtic Dragons’ hearts with a magnificent personal display in the British Fast5 All-Stars.

Harten scored all 35 points for Loughborough Lightning during a devastating 35-33 defeat in the semi-finals at London’s Copper Box Arena.

The top eight teams from Vitality Netball Superleague 2018-19 qualified for the Fast5 and Dragons were in for the first time.

Cardiff-based Dragons defeated Team Bath 40-28 and Saracens Mavericks 38-29 before suffering defeat in a desperately close semi-final against Lightning.

Harten, who helped England Commonwealth Games gold last year, led Lightning into the final where they won 61-35 against Wasps.

The day of Fact 5 action proved to be a thrilling day of quickfire netball and Dragons played a full part in making the tournament a huge success.

Victorious Loughborough Lightning.

Harten, aged 30 and from Harlow in Essex, has won more than 100 senior England caps and earned a place among the World’s premier goal shooters. 

She has a dynamic accuracy from under the posts at any range – and that was a key part of her success in the special rules of Fast 5 netball.

Dragons coach Tanya Hoffman and her team will reflect with pride on their performance before they suffered Harten heartbreak.

Celtic Dragons team at the Copper Box was Abby Tyrrell, Paige Kindred, Sophie Morgan, Leila Thomas, Amy Clinton, Kyra Jones, Dee Bolakoro, Lucy Herdman, Rebekah Robinson, Latanya Wilson.

Wales internationals and former Dragons players Nia Jones, Bethan Dyke and Georgia Rowe were all in the Severn Stars squad.

Fast5 Reports

Match one: Wasps Netball 30, Severn Stars 22

Defending Champions Wasps Netball opened with a win.

With a well timed golden buzzer, Severn Stars pushed themselves into the lead, scoring from the three point range and adding six points (10-12).

Wasps then used their golden buzzer. With two Rachel Dunn long bombs and 20 points scored it was a lucrative two minute period they found themselves 16 points ahead.

Match two: Manchester Thunder 15, Loughborough Lightning 31

Current Vitality Netball Superleague Champions, Manchester Thunder, lost against Lightning,  who had secured the All-Star signing of the tournament with Harten returning to play in purple and pink.

Lightning’s golden buzzer could not have been better timed with Harten scoring one from the five point range soon after, 10 points scored and they emerged winners.

Celtic Dragons head coach Tania Hoffman. ©Steve Pope Sportingwales

Match three: Team Bath 28, Celtic Dragons 40

Debutants Celtic Dragons opened with a comprehensive victory against Team Bath.

In the highest scoring game to that point, coach Hoffman’s Welsh team oozed class and confidence.

Lucy Herdman, who represented England at the World Indoor Netball Championships over the summer, was quickly on target with a long bomb.

Dragons applied fierce defensive pressure throughout to limit the five-time Superleague champions, who once again welcomed Stacey Francis back into the blue and gold as their All-Star.

The power play can make all the difference in the shorter format and Dragons certainly capitalised.

Herdman nailed two from range as the Welsh outfit racked up 26 points during their two-minute spell and opened a clear gap.

Trailing Dragons 12-34 heading into their power play, Team Bath fought to cut the deficit, but to no avail.

Laura Rudland landing two five-pointers in the closing stages, but it wasn’t enough for Anna Stembridge’s team as Dragons made the perfect start to their inaugural campaign.

Match four: Surrey Storm 31, Saracens Mavericks 17

Surrey Storm swept aside Saracens Mavericks in their opening game.

Jhaniele Fowler, Jamaica international and Super Netball’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons playing for West Coast Fever, was a big player for Storm.

Mavericks were the first to hit the golden buzzer and activate their power play, but failed to hit the target.

Attention then turned to Storm’s power play with Karyn Bailey scoring two points before landing a long bomb to put her team on top.

Match five : Wasps Netball 20, Loughborough Lightning 48

2017 British Fast5 All-Stars winners Loughborough Lightning sealed a spot in the semi-finals after dispatching defending champions Wasps Netball.

Match six: Celtic Dragons 35, Surrey Storm 41

The clash between Celtic Dragons and Surrey Storm went down to the wire.

Storm raced ahead to an early eight-point lead, thanks to pinpoint precision in the three and five-point zones from their shooters.

They stretched further out in front and were 0-24 up after Sophie Hankin coolly slotted 16 points during their power play.

Dragons battled back and netted an impressive 30 points in their two-minute power play with Herdman on target for DRagons’ three 10-pointers.

Hankin sent Storm out to a 30-38 lead but Hoffman’s Celtic team kept chipping away and a five-pointer once again brought them back in touching distance.

But with with one minute, 30 seconds left on the clock Dragons missed two long bomb opportunities and three points from Hankin sealed a 35-41 victory for Storm.

Match seven: Severn Stars 14, Manchester Thunder 27

Manchester Thunder earned their first-ever win in the tournament.

Match eight: Team Bath 23, Saracens Mavericks 36

Mavericks knocked Bath out of the championship and gave themselves a shot at qualifying for the semi-finals.

Match nine: Wasps Netball 27, Manchester Thunder 20

Wasps’ bid to retain their Fast5 title continued when they qualified for the semi-finals with this win.

Match 10: Celtic Dragons 38, Saracens Mavericks 29

Mavericks pushed the golden buzzer, but failed to capitalise on the double points up for grabs, leaving the door wide open for Hoffman’s side.

Dragons made the most of their opportunity as Robinson and Lucy Herdman scored to open a 19-points lead (33-14).

Kat Ratnapala’s team kept battling to the end though and clawed back some ground with three consecutive long bombs, but fell short.

Lucy Herdman. Celtic Dragons.
©Steve Pope Sportingwales

Semi-final one: Surrey Storm 28, Wasps Netball 35

Rachel Dunn scored all 35 Wasps’ points and they went through to the final for a second successive year.

Semi-final two: Loughborough Lightning 35, Celtic Dragons 33

Dragons were hit by Lightning – and Harten. 

Hoffman’s team went ahead with Lucy Herdman scoring two three-pointers in the early stages, but Harten was soon into her stride.

Loughborough were feelingthe pressure and opted for an early power play. That proved to be decisive with Harten scoring 20 goals during that period and taking the score to 25-14.

Dragons quickly used their power play and it proved a master stroke. With 16 points scored by Dragons during the two minutes, the score was tied at 30-30.

Harten managed to get Lightning ahead with another five-pointer, but Dragons are resilient and a three-pointer made 35-33.

The pivotal moment came from Sam May, who intercepted a Celtic feed with less than 20 seconds left.

That slowed Dragons’ down and ensured they couldn’t get to the post in time. The buzzer sounded as Amy Clinton turned to shoot.

Fast5 Final: Loughborough Lightning 61, Wasps 35

Harten scored an incredible 61 points to secure Fast5 All-Stars title.

Lightning didn’t leave it long to hit their golden buzzer and the timing the timing was impeccable. They scored 10 points immediately from Harten’s shot.

A further 20 points from Harten in the two-minute power play took Lightning 40-5 ahead.

Harten quickly sunk another five-pointer and with Dunn and her trading goals the scoreline reached 50-10.

Now it was time for Wasps’ power play and Dunn scored 20 points. 

But Loughborough – and tournament MVP Harten – reigned supreme and lifted the trophy.


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