Jennifer Saunders to captain team in Sport Relief netball match


Wednesday 10th July 2019, 4:53pm

Jennifer Saunders is to captain a team in All-Star Netball For Sport Relief, a charity match due to be shown on BBC Two.

The comedy actor and writer, who is a big netball fan, will go up against Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse in the match.

Taking place during the weekend of the Vitality Netball World Cup final, the game will be shown in an hour-long special on BBC Two at 7pm on Saturday 20th July, to be presented by Clare Balding.

Miranda star Sarah Hadland, Smack The Pony actor Sally Phillips, and stand-up comedians Ellie Taylor and Luisa Omielan are the comedy-related contestants taking part.

Completing the teams are Love Island‘s Montana Brown, Olympic champion Denise Lewis, ex-England footballer Sue Smith, radio presenters Vick Hope and Adele Roberts, Ex-rower Dame Katherine Grainger, Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell, Taekwondo athlete Jade Jones and ex-sprinter Katharine Merry.

Jennifer Saunders says: “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. I wouldn’t be getting this active for anything other than Sport Relief so I’m hoping loads of people tune in to the programme and donate. This might be my only chance to hold up a sporting trophy and I’m not letting this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity slip away from me, so when I pull on that netball bib I’ll be taking my role as team captain very seriously. My team are going to be unstoppable and there certainly won’t be any cheating going on…”

Organisers say: “The netball newbies are ditching their usual daytime attire and pulling on netball bibs to help raise money and change lives in the UK and internationally. The intrepid squad’s journey will all be revealed, 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.

“Hoping to carry out a childhood dream of lifting a sporting trophy, huge netball fan and comedy legend Jennifer Saunders will captain one of the all-star teams. She will face tough competition from a 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.”

Oti Mabuse comments: “I’ve always played sports, all different types, and netball has always been something I have really enjoyed. Netball was a part of my upbringing, I grew up playing it in South Africa, so the game is close to my heart. I like playing GA because I love shooting, whenever we go out to a game arcade I play my husband and we’re always competing against each other on who can score the most goals! 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. I’ll be pushing the team and I’m going to do a massive pep talk about self-belief and encouragement – my plan is to make the team believe they are the best netball players in the country. I’m going to have to keep my cool during Sport Relief’s All-Star Netball because I’ve never played in such a big arena before, the pressure is on! Despite the size of the arena, I’m excited to get out on that court and give it my all for Sport Relief to help raise vital funds.”

Clare Balding adds: “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.”


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