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Netball - 07. December 2007.

16 Year Old to Debut for Champions

16 year old Alex Sinclair from Christchurch in Dorset is the new name on the team sheet for reigning champions TeamBath when they take on Celtic Dragons at the Welsh Institute of Sport on Friday evening in the Co-operative Netball Superleague.

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Sinclair, a circle defender and member of the England U21 long squad, is called into the match day squad for the first time by TeamBath as replacement for Stacey Francis, who is unavailable for the fixture. Currently sitting in fifth place in the table, TeamBath will be looking to take a final win before the Christmas break, ahead of the return of the squad’s remaining England players, who have been rested after the recent Netball World Championships. And coach Jan Crabtree is very clear about what her side needs to do:


“We played much better against Leeds Met last Saturday, and we are looking to build on that performance on Friday night,” she said. “It would be great to be in the top four by the Christmas break but obviously that will also depend on other teams.”


Meanwhile, a hotly contested match up between two sisters is set to be the highlight of the London derby, when Brunel Hurricanes welcomes Mavericks to the Guildford Spectrum Centre on Friday night (8.30pm start). Holly Nichols of Mavericks is set to line up in centre court against her sister Katie, who has been in superb form this season for Brunel Hurricanes, and with previous fixtures between the two sides decided by only a handful of goals, the stage is set for a thrilling encounter.


Loughborough Lightning hope to have Welsh international Becky James back in their line up after her World Championships exploits when the Leicestershire-based team faces Leeds Carnegie at the Loughborough University Netball Centre on Saturday (6.00pm start). After two physically challenging games, Loughborough will need to contain the fast-paced Leeds attack and contain sharpshooting Tracey Neville and Karen Greig if they are to take three wins from three games.


The final match of the round is a trans-Pennine encounter, when league leaders Team Northumbria host Northern Thunder at the Gateshead Leisure Centre on Monday night (play starts at 7.30pm). Thunder have been putting together some encouraging passages of play in recent weeks, and will want to ensure four consistent quarters if they are to overcome the well drilled, confident Northumbria team.


Tickets are available for all matches – for more information, please visit www.englandnetball.co.uk and click on the Co-operative Netball Superleague logo. And catch all the action from the Northumbria/Thunder game on Sky Sports next Thursday evening.

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