Belfast Telegraph

Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse face off on netball court for Sport Relief

The comic and professional dancer will lead star-studded teams in the inaugural All-Star Netball match.

Team captains Oti Mabuse and Jennifer Saunders (Rebecca Naen/Comic Relief/PA)
Team captains Oti Mabuse and Jennifer Saunders (Rebecca Naen/Comic Relief/PA)

Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse will go head to head on the netball court in aid of Sport Relief.

The comic, 61, and Strictly Come Dancing professional, 28, will lead opposing teams in the inaugural All-Star Netball match the weekend of the Vitality Netball World Cup final.

Former Love Island contestant Montana Brown, Capital FM Breakfast presenter Vick Hope and Olympian Denise Lewis are amongst the stars taking part.

Actress and comedian Sarah Hadland, ex-England footballer and pundit Sue Smith and BBC Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts will also appear.

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Team captains Jennifer Saunders and Oti Mabuse (Sports Relief/PA)

Clare Balding, who will present the match at the Liverpool Arena, said it will put female players in the spotlight.

She 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.”

Saunders 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.

“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.

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Montana Brown, Kath Merry, Vick Hope, Katherine Grainger, Adele Roberts and Oti Mabuse will all compete (Sports Relief/PA)

“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 is going to be unstoppable and there certainly won’t be any cheating going on.”

Mabuse said: “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.”

The teams’ respective journeys will be the focus of a one-hour special to air on July 20 at 7pm on BBC Two.

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