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wasps-v-sirens-george-fisher

Sirens pay the Fisher price in big loss

Wasps Netball made it five wins in a row with an emphatic 65-41 victory over Sirens at the Ricoh Arena.

The shooting prowess of veteran Rachel Dunn and young prodigy George Fisher – who racked up 63 goals between them – proved too much for their Scottish opponents who never looked like spoiling the party on St George’s Day.

The result strengthens Wasps’ grip on a top four play-off spot in the Vitality Netball Superleague with a 12 point cushion with seven games to go.

Wasps Director of Netball Tamsin Greenway praised the impact that George Fisher had after coming on at half time to score 90 per cent of her shots and help the home side extend their lead.

She said: “It’s been tough for George this season. We brought her here to play but unfortunately because of some of the injuries we’ve had to shuffle things around.

“We had a chat with her and she’s been working so hard behind the scenes and I think she’s really stepped up in the past few weeks and I think that was shown out on the court today – she was outstanding.

“I thought the attacking end today really started to get the gist of what we are doing. We’ve been working on how we break down defensive units with different combinations and they’re really starting to click now.”

Wasps raced into a six point lead with Rachel Dunn proving dominant in the circle with Sirens’ Carla Borrego and Jo Pettit both missing a host of chances early on.

Although it took Sirens nine minutes to register their first points, Borrego and Pettit made amends by scoring four consecutive goals to reduce the deficit to 12-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Wasps extended their lead to ten points in the second quarter, with Bongi Msomi proving instrumental in the middle of the court forcing turnovers and feeding the ball up to Dunn and Natalie Haythonthwaite.

Caroline O’Hanlon’s darting runs off the ball livened up Sirens’ attack after the break, but the introduction of Wasps’ young goal shooting prodigy George Fisher saw Wasps head into the final quarter with a 16 point lead.

Player coach Tamsin Greenway entered into the fray in the final quarter at wing attack to help Wasps see out the game, as unstoppable duo Rachel Dunn and George Fisher racked up 22 goals between them in the final quarter to finish the game 65-41 .

Wasps Netball make the short trip up the M69 to Loughborough Lightning for their next match on 29 April, before hosting Severn Stars at the Ricoh Arena on 1 May (6pm centre pass).

Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Severn Stars on May 1 start from £10 for adults while under-10s go free, and can be purchased from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets

peace-proscovia-vs-manchester-thunder

Lightning cling on to perfect record

Loughborough Lightning kept their phenomenal Vitality Netball Superleague winning streak alive as they edged out Manchester Thunder by a single goal to make it 11 from 11.

Travelling north to Manchester, Lightning were sitting pretty at the top of the league, but taking on third placed Thunder they knew they’d be in for a stern test, which ultimately went right to the wire.

Thunder were keen to reverse an away defeat earlier in the season and having won eight on the bounce themselves, they looked more than up to the task.

Racing out of the blocks the team in yellow were quickly three goals to the good, before Loughborough University student Peace Proscovia got Lightning off the mark, having been a prolific taliswoman all season.

The team in purple soon found their rhythm though and before too long were 5-8 in front, but it was Thunder who finished the quarter strongest and with a two goal advantage.

Q1: 14-12

Ella Clark was on for Loughborough University alumna Vanessa Walker at the start of the quarter, and she linked up with Proscovia well to keep the Lightning goals coming.

Lightning were turning over the ball well further down the court through the likes of Beth Codben and University student Vicki Oyesola, but Thunder were also in good form and maintained their slender lead at half-time.

HT: 29-27

Walker returned at goal attack at the start of the second half, with Lightning having listened intently to an animated Karen Atkinson at half-time.

Whatever was said seemed to do the trick, Walker and Proscovia linking up seamlessly to score time and time again. In fact it was a similar story to the rest of the season, with Lightning crushing their opposition in the third quarter, as they have done time and time again in 2017.

Every credit must go to the defensive line though, Jo Trip and Oyesola formidable inside their own circle, whilst captain Nat Panagarry, now playing at goal defence, was turning over plenty of ball. Momentum Lightning.

Q3: 38-44

Starting the final quarter with their fate in their own hands, Lightning looked composed but Thunder perhaps looked the more dangerous.

At one point 10 goals behind, soon Thunder were using the home crowd advantage and pulling ever closer to set up a nail-biting finale.

The drama continued right until the final few seconds, when Thunder thought they’d equalised on the buzzer, but it was deemed a fraction too late. That allowed Lightning to snatch a narrow one point victory and stretch their unbeaten run to eleven.

FT 57-58

Of the Lightning performance Head Coach Karen Atkinson said:

“I’m unbelievably proud of the girls tonight, pulling through away at one of our biggest rivals. They showed tremendous character to grind out the win and can take a lot of confidence heading into our showcase game against Wasps next weekend.

“Despite having won eleven games in a row we still have things to work on, as we look to secure our place in The Final Four where we want to be playing our best netball of the season.”

Tickets for Lightning’s next home game against Wasps, to be played at the Riders Arena in Leicester on Saturday 29th April are still available at http://loughboroughsport.com/loughborough-lightning/fixturesandresults/

team-bath-potm-dragons

Bath back on track with turnaround win

Team Bath Netball produced a storming final quarter to finally tame a determined Celtic Dragons outfit and get back to winning ways in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

Just one goal separated the teams at the end of each of the first three quarters, with Dragons holding a narrow 37-36 advantage going into the last 15 minutes.

However, roared on by another four-figure home crowd, the Sitec-sponsored Blue and Gold were finally able to pull clear as impressive shooting from Chelsea Lewis and player of the match Shantal Slater plus outstanding defending secured a 58-48 success in an entertaining Severn derby.

Head Coach Anna Stembridge said: “I’m really proud because it has been a tough run over the past few weeks but the girls have really applied themselves in training, got their heads down and trusted in what we have been doing.

“I saw a real trust and belief amongst the squad tonight. What we did in training this week got us over the line, it wasn’t one person but the whole squad.

“Dragons pushed Wasps for well over half a game last week and had a really good win against Sirens so we knew it was going to be tough today and that was how it proved.

“The defence was absolutely outstanding right across the court, winning ball at critical times. Sam Cook and Shantal also came into the game and made a big impact, really playing to their strengths.

“Shantal was phenomenal with her ability to take any ball in the air and her long shots were exquisite as well. It was a great win and one we can take confidence from going into Friday’s match against Severn Stars.”

Jamaican international shooter Slater added: “We said in the huddle at half-time that we had to win this game and we delivered in the end. It is an awesome feeling to be player of the match and it was a good win for us.”

Team Bath went into the match looking to end a four-game losing streak, while improving Dragons were hoping to record their second win of the season.

The first quarter proved evenly matched, with neither side able to get more than two goals ahead. Both defences impressed but, with Lewis converting all of her shots against her former franchise, it was the Blue and Gold who held a narrow 12-11 lead.

Lewis continued her hot streak at the start of the second period, rattling in three goals inside the opening minute to put seemingly put Team Bath in command. They extended their lead to 19-13 at one point but Dragons refused to go away and regained the initiative through good finishing from Kalita McCollin and Eleanor Roberts.

Just as Team Bath had made a bright start to the quarter, Dragons enjoyed a strong finish as three unanswered goals meant the home side’s lead was back at one – 25-24 – going into the second half.

The hosts rang the changes for the third quarter, with Lewis moving to goal-attack and Slater coming on at goal-shooter. England international Cook was also introduced at goal-defence, with Layla Guscoth moving to wing-defence.

The new-look team took time to settle and Dragons took advantage to forge ahead for the first time since midway through the first quarter. They maintained that advantage throughout a nip-and-tuck period to go into the closing stages with a 37-36 lead.

After their recent disappointing results, Team Bath’s heads could have dropped but they came out firing in the final quarter and scored three early goals to regain the momentum.

Slater and Lewis were linking well in attack, both finding the net with great accuracy as the home side began to surge clear. Dragons kept battling but could not prevent Team Bath finally recording a morale-boosting ten-goal victory.

They will be determined to build on that result when they play host to new West Country franchise Severn Stars on Friday (7.45pm). Tickets –  priced £12 for adults, £8 concessions and £35 for a family ticket – are available at www.teambath.com/events/ticketline.

Fans can also take advantage of a special offer to buy tickets for the final three home matches of the season – Stars, Wasps and Sirens – for just £30 by calling 0844 888 4412 and quoting code TBBC01.

thunder-v-mavs

One winning streak to end in Round 11

The two form teams in the Vitality Netball Superleague clash on Saturday evening in Round 11 as Manchester Thunder face off against Loughborough Lightning.

Having suffered a pair of losses to start their campaign, Thunder have rattled off an impressive eight straight wins to rise up to third in the current standings.

They have made the Thunderdome a particular fortress so far this year and have yet to suffer a loss on home soil.

However, this incredible run will be put under extreme pressure with the visit of the only team in the league still to hold claim to a perfect record.

Lightning have been imperious as we reached the mid-point of the season and they are looking odds-on to claim a spot at the Final Four. It promises to be a titanic tussle.

One team looking for a turnaround in fortunes are Team Bath. Those in blue and gold have seen their fight for a top four place falter in recent weeks and they need to reinvigorate their campaign.

Attempting to stall their progress will be Celtic Dragons. Battling performances in recent weeks, including a first win of 2017, will be enough to worry fans of their rivals when the two meet on Saturday evening.

Inconsistency has also blighted Hertfordshire Mavericks this season and they will travel to Newcastle on Saturday evening knowing they face a must-win encounter with Team Northumbria.

It is looking increasing unlikely that Northumbria will be challenging for a place at the Final Four but they have the quality to upset any team on their day and will be hoping to play the role of spoilers in Round 11.

A resurgent Wasps welcome Sirens on Sunday hoping to tighten their grip on second place. Four wins in-a-row have seen them rise back up the table but Sirens are a dangerous opponent.

The Scottish side must rid themselves of their away day blues if they want to capture a place at the finals weekend.

A single win away from Glasgow this year has cost them dearly and they face dropping further back from the end of season fight for the title if they again succumb to defeat on Sunday.

Sky Sports bring their live Monday Night Netball from Worcester in Round 11 as Severn Stars host a Surrey Storm side who have faltered in recent times.

Three defeats in their last four outings have seen the reigning champions drop down to fourth place in the table with the chasing pack scenting a late season surge could steal a place at the Final Four.

Stars need to find additional consistency in their debut season but a win on Monday will give them real belief that they could be the team to benefit if Storm’s poor form continues.

Stay updated with the latest scores and news from the Vitality Netball Superleague by following the official @NetballSL twitter account.

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Round 11 fixtures

Saturday 22nd April:

Bath v Dragons, 5pm

Thunder v Lightning, 5pm

Northumbria v Mavericks, 6pm

Sunday 23rd April:

Wasps v Sirens, 2pm

Monday 24th April

Stars v Storm, 7:30pm, LIVE on Sky Sports Mix from 7:15pm

You can stay up to date no matter where you are this season by downloading the fabulous new Vitality Netball Superleague app now!

Purchase your tickets to the Vitality Netball Superleague Final Four now!