Wasps reach Fast5 All Stars final for second year

Wasps Netball fell short of a second successive British Fast5 All-Stars title after a flawless performance from Loughborough Lightning’s Jo Harten in the tournament final.

Lightning came away 61-35 winners at the Copper Box Arena in London, in a final that was billed as the battle of the England Roses shooters Rachel Dunn and Harten.

The Black and Golds enjoyed a string of impressive performances on route to the final, including dominant victories against Surrey Storm and Manchester Thunder.

It marked the first pre-season action on court for Wasps, and Head Coach Mel Mansfield said it was great to see the group back together but there was nothing they could do to slow down Harten in the final.

Mansfield said: “It was fantastic to have the group back together and back in Black and Gold for the first time since the Superleague Grand Final.

“This tournament won’t be a measure of the season ahead but there are plenty of positives to take away. This really is the start of pre-season for us and we’re working towards the start of the season in February now.

“Jo Harten was simply outstanding in the final. We struggled to limit the ball getting into her and she was electric from the circle edge too.

“Our semi-final performance against Storm was the highlight for me. Everything clicked and we played very well.

“We decided to go with our own all-stars, we didn’t bring anyone in. We have done that every year of Fast5 and it’s worked well for us.

“It was great to be able to give our young guns some time on court too. Beth Dix, Hannah Leighton and Ally Housley all impressed me with their performances and maturity and they all have very bright futures in this sport.

“We had a fantastic day and it was a well-organised event by Matchroom. We had a lot of fun but it’s time to get back training and preparing for the Superleague season.”

Wasps beat Severn Stars 30-22 to open the tournament before falling 48-20 to Lightning, who they would later meet again in the final.

The Black and Golds bounced back with a 27-20 win over Manchester Thunder, before beating Storm 35-23 to reach the final.