Harten inspires Lightning to Fast5 title

The international shooter scored all 61 of Loughborough’s points in the final against Wasps

Last Updated: 12/10/19 7:33pm

The international shooter was on electric form in London
The international shooter was on electric form in London

Jo Harten inspired Loughborough Lightning to the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship title as they beat Wasps Netball in the final at the Copper Box Arena.

From start to finish the England international shooter mesmerised the crowd with her long-range shots and her exceptional accuracy from the five-point zone.

Harten, who took home the MVP award, scored 40 points during their Power Play against Wasps in the title-deciding contest. Her prolific work combined with Lightning’s exceptional all-court defence in order to deliver the 61-35 final victory.

“That was so much fun,” said Harten after the full-time whistle.

“I don’t ever play with a smile on my face but this group of girls have been electric this whole day. The crowd have been electric too, what an atmosphere.

“I’m 30-years-old now and I feel so rejuvenated. We’ve got young players, 18/19-years-old working so hard to get us the ball and it’s been absolutely team effort. It’s been a privileged to pull on the Loughborough purple again.”

Lightning, who last won the competition in 2017, flew out of the Double Elimination round with victories over Manchester Thunder, and the side that they would ultimately meet again in the final, Wasps.

With the competition format dictating that two victories delivered an automatic semi-final spot, Lightning had a chance to rest-up before encountering the surprise package of the competition – Celtic Dragons.

Dragons were making their debut at the championships and proved to be a real force under the guidance of head coach Tania Hoffman.

Shooter Lucy Herdman led their charge with her confidence and range and Herdman’s all-around game captured the attention of Serena Guthrie who was part of the Sky Sports presentation team at the Copper Box Arena.

Dragons had a chance to sneak their semi-final against Loughborough, with a three-point shot on the final play at 35-33 down, however it just bobbled off the rim.

Wasps’ semi-final opponents were Surrey Storm, who also proved to be a dynamic force in London, as they were passionately driven on by their director of netball and player Mikki Austin.

The last-four stumbling block for them proved to be Rachel Dunn as the England international found her five-point range during their semi-final which resulted in the 35-28 scoreline which favoured Wasps.

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Enjoy the highlights of the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship final between Lightning and Wasps
Enjoy the highlights of the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship final between Lightning and Wasps

Both Lightning and Wasps aren’t strangers when it comes to meetings in major finals, prior Grand Finals are still clearly vividly remembered by both, and this Fast5 All-Stars shoot-out delivered.

Dunn set the tone with a five-pointer before Harten quickly said, ‘Anything that you can do, I can do too’, and the turning point came early when Lightning pressed the Golden Buzzer.

The Power Play, after just two and a half-minutes, saw them move from 10-5 in front to 40-5 as Harten’s masterclass played out.

Once Loughborough’s cushion was established the hard-yards were delivered in defence as Sam May used her knowledge of her opponents tio snaffle ball while Hannah Joseph and Jasmin Odeogberin also stood out.

Lightning were able to contain Wasps during their own Power Play and confidently marched on to secure their second Fast5 All-Stars title in the space of three years.

Source : Sky Sports