Friday 19 July will see the first ever All-Star Netball for Sport Relief played out on the World Cup court with Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse, captaining the two teams into battle.
Hosted by Clare Balding, the match will see a host of celebrities ditching their usual daytime attire and pulling on netball bibs to help raise money and change lives in the UK and internationally.
Huge netball fan and comedy legend Jennifer Saunders hopes to carry out a childhood dream of lifting a sporting trophy. Speaking about her captaincy she said;
‘I never thought I’d be leading a team out on to a netball court but I’m definitely up for the challenge. I would say I’m confident, but I haven’t picked up a netball since school so who knows what kind of moves I’ll be making out there in the arena.’
Saunders will face tough competition from her opposing team led by Strictly Come Dancing’s Oti Mabuse. Oti, who grew up playing netball in South Africa, will be hoping her years of dance training pay off as she hot foots it around the court at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
“Netball was a part of my upbringing, so the game is close to my heart,” Mabuse says. “I like playing GA because I love shooting…As a team captain, I’ll be whipping my team in to shape to keep Jennifer on her toes and make sure we bring that trophy home”.
Eager to make their captains proud are team players Montana Brown (Love Island), Denise Lewis (Ex-heptathlete & former Olympic champion), Sarah Hadland (Actress and comedian, Miranda), Sally Phillips (Actress and comedian, Smack the Pony), Sue Smith (Commentator and ex-England footballer), Ellie Taylor (Presenter and comedian, The Mash Report),Vick Hope (Capital FM Breakfast presenter), Luisa Omielan (Comedian), Adele Roberts (BBC Radio 1 DJ), Dame Katherine Grainger (Ex-rower and former Olympic champion), Lindsey Russell (Presenter, Blue Peter), Jade Jones (Taekwondo athlete & Olympic gold medallist) and Katherine Merry (Ex-sprinter & former Olympian medallist).
Commenting on the All-Star match, Clare Balding said, ‘Comic Relief and I share the belief that sport has the power to bring about positive social change for individuals and communities and I’ve wanted to put on something like All-Star Netball for Sport Relief for some time. This summer has been incredible for putting women in sport in the spotlight and with the Vitality Netball World Cup taking place in the UK it’s far from finished, so I’m thrilled that All-Star Netball for Sport Relief can be a part of that. I hope the match inspires more women across the country to get involved with sport while raising money for vital causes.’
Follow the intrepid squad’s journey, from the very first training session through to the nail-biting final, in a one-hour special at 7pm Saturday 20th July on BBC Two.