NSL fixtures updated in wake of Wasps shock
ENGLAND Netball has updated the 2023 Netball Super League (NSL) fixtures following the shock news of Wasps’ departure from the league. The league will return to 10 teams, with the same top four finals format and eight sides qualifying for Fast5, as well as the competition maintaining a 20-round regular season that will finish on Monday, June 5.
After the holding company for the Wasps franchise – including rugby – was placed into insolvency on October 17, the NPL engaged with the club to try and come to a resolution, England Netball Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fran Connolly said it was just not possible.
“It has been exceptionally difficult to see the situation unfold at Wasps and a highly challenging time for all involved in Wasps Netball, particularly the staff and players,” Connolly said. “Wasps Netball have delivered many successes during their time in the league. As two-time Champions with a loyal fan following, they have inspired and developed many players who will continue the Wasps legacy.
“Whilst we never gave up hope of finding a successful outcome, our hearts go out to everyone who is impacted by this sad news. I would like to express my gratitude and pay tribute to everyone involved for their patience, support and engagement throughout these last few weeks. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work that has been invested to try and find a solution, as well as the invaluable help from the Netball Players Association in supporting the players during this difficult time.
“Our focus now is to give clarity and certainty to players and staff who are impacted, and support them to return to courts, albeit different courts, as soon as possible.”
England Netball will now take over responsibilities for “delivering the pathway” in the Wasps’ catchment region to ensure the youth development and future netballers in the region are not disadvantaged. Joint administrator Andrew Sheridan said the sporting body would continue to work with those affected by the insolvency.
“We’ve worked tirelessly with the Netball Super League and England Netball in an effort to find a solution that would allow Wasps Netball to move forward, and would like to thank them for their engagement and support during this process.
“Despite all of our best efforts and interest from a number of parties, it has, regrettably, not been possible to find a solution in the time available. We know that this will be incredibly disappointing news for all involved with Wasps Netball and their supporters, and we will continue to provide all support to those employees of the club who have been affected by the administration.”
Round 1 will still kick off with a massive day out at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, as all 10 teams take to the court as part of five consecutive NPL matches. Team Bath and Loughborough Lightning will kick off the day, with Surrey Storm and Strathclyde Sirens second, and Saracens and Severn Stars following that. The last two matches feature Leeds Rhinos up against London Pulse, and reigning premiers Manchester Thunder taking on Celtic Dragons.
A rearranged Round 20 match between the Storm and Stars will take place on Monday, February 13. London Pulse and Team Bath will play the first Friday night match of the year in Round 2 on Friday, February 17, while each of the 20 rounds will contain between four and five matches.