Surrey Storm win new Super League licence for 2012
10 August 2011
Superleague netball will continue in London and Surrey as grand-finalists Surrey Storm were given another four-year licence.
The London and South-East franchise were awarded a Superleague licence to continue in netball’s elite domestic competition by England Netball, who are now set to launch a newly structured superleague for the upcoming season.
The new league structure will be transformed from last season with nine teams now reduced to eight. Storm will be joined in the new FIAT Netball Superleague with Hertfordshire Mavericks, TeamBath, Northern Thunder, Celtic Dragons, Loughborough Lightning, Team Northumbria and newcomers Yorkshire Jets.
The new league format will see each franchise play each other once home or away at the start of the campaign, before the league splits into two separate four-team tiers. Teams in the top and bottom tier will play each other home and away in move which is hoped will increase competitiveness.
At the end of proceedings the top three teams in tier 1 will qualify automatically for the Finals Series while the fourth place team will play a one off game at home against the team that finishes fifth, top of the second tier, for the last remaining slot in the semi-finals.
The structure of the finals will also be radically altered, with a Finals Series taking place over a weekend netball festival at the end of the season. More details will be announced into the season.
Surrey Storm Franchise Director Gems Leaming welcomed the announcement and is now focused on preparing the club for the news 2012 season:
“We are delighted to have been given another four-year Superleague licence and I’d like to thank all the people involved in putting together our successful application.
“As runners-up last season we will be looking to go one better next year and we are all excited about the challenges the new league format and new teams will bring.
“We will now be looking to push the franchise forward in this new era of professional netball in England, and with coach Mary Beardwood’s departure we will be looking to appoint a new coach, boost the playing squad and push the club on to superleague success.”
England Netball chairman, Cheryl Danson said, “England Netball is delighted to announce the eight franchises that we believe will support the England Netball performance objective of becoming number one in the world.
“It is regrettable that Glasgow Wildcats lose their place in the competition, and that the Birmingham based application missed out on the final eight; however, we wish all successful franchises the best of luck for the 2012 season and beyond.”
The new FNSL season gets underway on the weekend of January 21st and will conclude with the Grand Final Weekend on May 19th and 20th.
Surrey Storm will announce fixtures once finalised, with season tickets and match tickets set to go on sale when the new fixtures are confirmed.
Keep checking www.surreystormnetball.co.uk for news on fixtures, signings and pre-season updates.