England Netball has today revealed plans to host a four match test series against Jamaica at the end of January 2021, which will be the first international competition on home soil in a year.
The Vitality Roses stepped out on court to face New Zealand, South Africa and Jamaica in a sold out test series back in January 2020. However, shortly after, COVID-19 hit causing all netball activity to be halted across the country.
After extensive planning, plus regular conversations with Public Health England, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls have agreed to travel to the UK for a period of isolation before facing the Vitality Roses on court.
The Vitality Netball Legends Series is a new tournament, which has been aptly named to represent the netball players who are making their mark on the international stage. After January, the series will convert to the autumn annually and will see England face a different world class team in each edition.
Each year, England Netball will name the trophy for the series after a different legend in the netball world. For the first installation of the series, the Sunshine Girls and the Vitality Roses will battle for the Jean Hornsby Cup, named in honour of the first Black England netball player Jean Hornsby, who has helped to create history and pave the way for many women across the Netball Family.
The announcement of this series comes shortly after the Vitality Roses travelled to New Zealand for an exciting three-match test series against the world champions.
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that international netball will once again be showcased on home soil. After an incredibly tough year for not only netball, but all sport, we didn’t know if this series would be possible. Getting the Vitality Roses to New Zealand for a tournament there in November was a huge feat, but to now be able to host some competition ourselves too is a huge privilege.
“Whilst this series will look different from what we’re used to without fans in attendance, we know that the Netball Family will be cheering on the Vitality Roses from homes across the country.
“A tremendous amount of work and effort has gone into making this possible, and we will be following extensive medical guidance and ensuring strict safety protocols are in place throughout for the safety of all involved. There’s still a lot of work to do but we are so pleased to be able to get this series agreed.
“Thank you to everyone at England Netball for their tireless work, Public Health England for their ongoing guidance and Netball Jamaica for making this happen. Plus a huge thank you to the Netball Family for their ongoing support and for helping netball to #RiseAgain.”
Tricia Robinson, President of Netball Jamaica, added: “Netball Jamaica is pleased to be playing in the Vitality Netball Legends Series and to be vying for the Jean Hornsby Cup. There is disappointment in playing behind closed doors however it is great to be back on court participating in International Netball Competition, having last competed in January in the Nations Cup.”
Exact dates, venue and times of the series, which will be covered live by Sky Sports, will be announced in due course.