Surrey based National League netball club: The Downs, are raising the bar on Sunday 29th January by staging a ticketed gala match against league rivals Bournemouth 7s Blades at the 900 seater Guildford Spectrum.
With many tickets sold already, local sports fans are strongly encouraged to attend (ticket information at the end of this article) to see for the first time what Premier League netball looks like.
The Downs are the first Premier League side to take their fixtures to this exciting new level, and with a half time shooting competition to win a £120 Crazy Catch, and tickets only £5 (buy ten get one free) the new event promises to be an exciting experience for all ages.
The host squad features three Superleague players in it's starting line, and two more on the bench for Sunday. Goal Attack Rhianne McHale, and defenders Hannah Reid and Lorraine Betsy (pictured) take time out from Southern franchise Surrey Storm along with teammates Katy Hollland and Lucy Convey, to represent their Division One Premier side.
Former England and New Zealand international player Natalie Swift (nee Andrews) is Head Coach at The Downs. Swift has top level playing experience having played for five years at national and international level in both Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking about the strong links between The Downs and the local netball community, Swift said "With six players registered with Surrey Storm a lot of our players get the opportunity to play in the Superleague and I have a good working relationship with Tamsin Greenway to develop opportunities with players at Surrey University and coaches."
Swift believes showcasing netball of this level will help bridge the gap for players wondering how to progress from grassroots to elite level netball.
"It is good to raise the profile of Premier League Netball. The Premier League offers great matches to watch as most teams are evenly matched.
"Teams are not only fighting to win the competition but also fighting to stay up and avoid the play offs. This drives players to work hard for every game because all the points on the results table matter!"
Having narrowly lost to Bournemouth 7s Blades earlier in the season (Blades 48 - Downs 41) The Downs are eager to set the record straight against the South Coast side. With Blades sitting at 6th place on the ladder and Downs at 7th - everything is to play for between these closely matched teams.
With shooting stats from the last game approaching the 80% mark, Swift beleives that the game will be a spectacle "We are expecting a very close match and it should be a great game to watch."
"We played Blades in the Play Offs in 2009 and it was a tightly contested game then. We lost again in our first round of matches this season when we were forming as a team and they had a new Kiwi WD which we hadn't been prepared for. We expect tight defence and a fast paced game this time we are prepared."
Forward thinking and keen to keep progressing, The Downs are also seeking to secure sponsorship. "An event like this demonstrates the audience and exposure we are able to give a sponsor and it also creates a great opportunity for the netballers in Surrey to come and watch the only Surrey Premier League Team competing in this League." said Swift.
To secure your tickets, either phone the Spectrum Box Office on 01483 443333, or click here to buy online. Tickets are £5.00 each and if you buy 10 you get one free. Tickets can also be bought on the day at Guildford Spectrum if available.
For more information on The Downs, visit www.thedownsnetballclub.co.uk