Netball: Otago pair selected in national fastnet team

Jess Moulds
Jess Moulds
Otago has two representatives in a new-look national side to contest the fastnet series in the United Kingdom next month.

Defender Jess Moulds and midcourter Hayley Saunders have been named in an 11- strong squad to contest the competition late next month in Liverpool.

The fastnet series made its debut last year - when New Zealand won - and has different rules to the conventional game.

Quarters are six minutes long, there are rolling substitutions and each side can nominate one quarter as a power play in which goals count as doubles.

Shooters can shoot from outside the circle.

No players from the Silver Ferns who won gold at the Commonwealth Games have been selected.

Instead, the team is made up of promising players with a sprinkling of experience.

Southern Steel defender Te Huinga Reo Selby Rickit has also made the team, which will be captained by former Silver Fern Maree Bowden.

The team will be coached by Steel head coach Robyn Broughton who will be assisted by Otago's Janine Southby.

Saunders (21) said she was shocked to make the team.

A long list of players had been drawn up for consideration about a month ago and although her name was on it she had not given it any further thought.

She had watched the shortened version of the game last year and played one game at an Otago practice.

"It just seems to be a whole lot quicker, especially for me being a mid-courter, so there won't be much time to take a breath," Saunders said.

With having played her last game at the start of the month she has been doing just core fitness work but may look at getting into some more short sprint work.

The psychology and social work student is due to sit two exams the day before the team leaves so she may have to change those.

Otago netballer of the year Moulds, who is to play for the Northern Mystics next year, said she, too, was surprised with her selection, and had little experience of playing the fastnet game.

"We played it once but it was more of a fun game and it seemed a lot quicker. It makes it hard for defenders if they can shoot outside the circle," she said.

The shorter nature of the game would increase intensity, she said.

Her fitness was still good and her last exam was on November 10, which fitted in nicely with the side flying out a few days later.

Moulds (20) is in her final year of a human nutrition degree but is planning to study for a post-graduate diploma in dietetics next year.