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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 19:17 GMT
Brunel blow up a storm

By BBC Sport's Tracy Pinder

Chioma Ezeogu
England star Ezeogu in action for the Hurricanes
A sell out crowd, England internationals on show and the best athletes in Britain battling it out for supremacy.

It is a mouthwatering prospect for any sport and for the Netball Superleague it's a case of cometh the hour cometh the woman.

Monday night sees a clash of the top two teams in the eight-team Superleague as second-placed Brunel Hurricanes entertain leaders Team Bath.

Tickets sold out so fast that the game had to be moved to the Guildford Spectrum instead of Brunel University's new 1m netball hall.

The University's head of sports development Neil Young said: "We've been taken aback by the demand for tickets for the game. It demonstrates that, not only has Netball Superleague taken off, but that the Brunel Hurricanes are fast becoming the fans' choice.

Our first game in Superleague drew in 100 people. On Monday we will have over 1,000 supporters

Brunel Hurricanes' Neil Young

"We've come a long way in a year. Our first game in Superleague One drew in a crowd of 100. Next Monday we will set a Superleague record of over 1,000 supporters."

The Hurricanes boast a team with a blend of England experience and talented youth and Hurricanes coach Denise Holland said: "We know that we have the skills, the talent, the mental toughness and the physicality.

"We've got the strength and power to do the job and to be the best Superleague team in England."

Four England Internationals grace Hurricanes' side - Sonia Mkoloma, Chioma Ezeogu, Naida Hutchinson and Josie Leutton, who is now back from an injury lay-off.

All four hope to be involved in England's quest to become world champions in Auckland later this year.

Josie Leutton
Leutton has recovered from wrist and knee injuries

"Josie's resilience and determination to be at her very best is what drives her and I have do doubt she will find her form quickly," added Holland.

Mkoloma, Ezeogu and Hutchinson also recently featured in England's Test series whitewash against South Africa, so confidence is high and the pressure on Hurricanes to win the league is welcomed by captain Mkoloma.

"I thrive on the pressure and am excited about the match against Team Bath and the rest of the season," she said.

"The Test series win on home turf against South Africa was great and I feel sharp at the moment."

Mkoloma will no doubt be a key and inspirational figure for her side and she'll have to be, playing against the likes of England team-mates Pamela Cookey, Rachel Dunn and Tamsin Greenaway.

Holland added: "We are looking forward to the challenge. We're working hard to prepare for Monday's match, we all know the importance of this game and we want to win the league.

"My girls are London girls, they live in an busy environment where coping with city life and training as an elite athlete is tough on the body and minds.

"They are used to facing adversity, winning this league will be a closely fought battle, and very much a battle of the minds and we are ready for it."

The spotlight on the Superleague has never felt quite so hot and Brunel Hurricanes are not only becoming the fans choice but not a bad one for the bookies either.

606 DEBATE: Who do you think will win?

SEE ALSO
Netball results
24 May 06 |  Netball


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