2021 British Fast5 All-Stars: Top performers

THE 2021 British Fast5 All-Stars event on Saturday, October 30 provided plenty of exciting action, with a number of top performers putting on a show across the range of matches. Whilst Team Bath won the ultimate prize and bragging rights, we run through the top player from each of the eight teams and who to keep an eye on during the upcoming 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague Season.

READ>> 2021 British Fast5 All-Stars wrap: Bath claims Fast5 trophy // 2021 British Fast5 All-Stars: Talking points

Champions: Team Bath – Layla Guscoth

Overall competition MVP Layla Guscoth was a staple in the champion side, with the Roses defender working hard in transition to ensure Bath took advantage of every opportunity that came their way. The goal defence was a reliable force in both goal defence and goal keeper with her long arms over pressure and explosiveness to create turnover ball, whilst also offering an experienced and composed head in the back-line. Elsewhere, Imogen Allison and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis wreaked havoc with their two-way running and speed, building from their tough early loss to claim the crown.

Runners-up: Saracens Mavericks – Kadeen Corbin

If there is a player who flourishes in the heat of 12-minute matches, it is Kadeen Corbin. Something that made the goal attack such a game-changer was her willingness to turn and shoot, and quickly move back into play just in case. Corbin ran out as the competition’s highest scorer with 106 total points across her five matches, utilising her smooth moving and long range capability to consistently wreak havoc. Factor in her combination with sister, Sasha Corbin, and it is no surprise the team made it all the way to the final.

Semi-finalist 1: Manchester Thunder – Kerry Almond

A Thunder staple, Kerry Almond was as reliable as ever in the Thunder defence with her ability to anticipate the cross-court ball and transition between defence and offence in a split second. The goal keeper was cool and collected under pressure and a continuous threat both on and off the ball, bodying up well and constantly applying pressure. She also used her smarts to waste vital power play time for the opposition, eating up the clock. Eleanor Cardwell was a close second, with her willingness to shoot from range with plenty of confidence.

Semi-finalist 2: Wasps Netball – Rachel Dunn

Like Corbin, Rachel Dunn is a long-range specialist and flourishes in Fast5 conditions, quickly and efficiently adding points to the board. The goal shooter is a veteran of the game but does not look it on the court, using her excellent footwork to evade her defensive opposition and playing out all three of the Wasps matches with ease. Dunn averaged the greatest points per game with 24.3 to her name, edging ahead of both Cardwell (24) and Corbin (21.2), and benefited off the great feeds of Iona Christian and Leah Goss.

Strathclyde Sirens – Gia Abernethy

While the Sirens shred around their centre bib a lot at the Fast5, Gia Abernethy was a staple from the starting whistle with her hustle and excellent transition between attack and defence. The Sirens captain was light on her feet and creative driving towards circle edge, also using her long arms to block vision in the centre court to slow down play. While her side only played the two matches, Abernethy showcased her calm temperament ad burst of speed in both outings and did not leave anything left in the tank, teaming well with Niamh McCall who had her eye in from range.

London Pulse – Funmi Fadoju

Funmi Fadoju can constantly wreak havoc in regular game time, so factor in the quick play and excitement of Fast5, and the developing defender was even more explosive than usual. Her ability to adjust between offence and defence is second to none, relishing the long cross-court ball the format provokes and also finding plenty of turnovers with her sticky fingers. Fadoju’s vision and anticipation was terrific, while her use of space allowed others like Ellie Rattu and Paige Reed to build in confidence and work their way into the game, too.

Loughborough Lightning – Beth Cobden

Playing out of position in centre compared to her typical wing defence, Beth Cobden helped the Lightning be competitive through the midcourt and proved to be a real pest. Her side may not have won any games, but her work rate in transition was excellent, continuously driving up and down the court and using her endurance to get hands to ball. Cobden put it all out on court during the competition with her quick feet and smooth movement, offering a different option to stand-in coach Natalie Panagarry who used her attacking smarts to change things up while Ella Clark showcased her basketball background in spades.

Leeds Rhinos – Rhea Dixon

Smooth-moving goal attack Rhea Dixon was one of the leading players for the Rhinos in a disrupted outing, with late omissions effectively ruling the squad out of a deep foray in their first Fast5 event. What the goaler did well was drive the ball down court with speed and precision, and while she was not always able to have the impact she desired in front of goal, that was due to the workrate she applied across the midcourt, too. Overall, it was a classy performance from Dixon, who showcased her leadership in an undermanned squad.

Picture credit: Tara St Clair via Loughborough Lightning

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2 years ago

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