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Team Bath move back into top four

Team Bath Netball moved back into the top four of the Vitality Netball Superleague as an excellent all-round team performance secured an impressive 60-34 victory over UWS Sirens.

The Blue and Gold, fresh from a vital 54-45 victory over top-four rivals benecosMavericks on Friday, set the tone during a phenomenal first quarter as they stormed into a 17-4 lead.

Scottish franchise Sirens, who had inflicted a surprise defeat on Team Bath in Glasgow nine days ago, kept battling during a physical encounter but the home side played with great intensity throughout and were able to extend their advantage in the second half to boost their goal-average.

The win puts Team Bath level on points with third-placed Manchester Thunder and just three behind Loughborough Lightning and Wasps Netball – their opponents at the Team Bath Arena on the next two Fridays (June 1 and 8, click here to buy tickets).

Anna Stembridge, Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach, said: “The way we played was much, much better than when we faced Sirens nine days ago. The ball speed was excellent and we felt composed.

“Credit to Sirens for the way they came back at us in the second quarter but I’m proud of the way the girls handled it. Overall it was a good performance but there are a few creases we can iron out ahead of Loughborough on Friday.

“It’s absolutely critical that our fans continue to get behind us. They were brilliant against Mavericks, they turned out again tonight and we could really do with them being here with us for the next two home games.”

 

Player of the match Mia Ritchie, who received her Wild About Flowers prize bouquet from Blue and Gold legend Pamela Cookey, added: “We took a lot of confidence from the Mavericks game on Friday and really wanted to put out back-to-back performances, which we did tonight.

“We feel are coming into form at exactly the right time. We believe we can go all the way and the fans believe it as well, we’ve just got to keep putting in those performances game in, game out.”

Sirens included three former Blue and Gold stars in their starting line-up – Shantal Slater at goal-shooter, Rachel Dunn at centre and captain Claire Brownie at wing-defence.

They went into tonight’s match having won two of their past three Superleague matches, including a 51-43 victory over Team Bath at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow nine days ago.

The Blue and Gold had been caught cold in that match but were clearly determined not to let that happen again as they quickly established their dominance in a one-sided first quarter.

A flurry of flying interceptions from the all-action Layla Guscoth, Imogen Allison and Ritchie secured a host of turnovers for the hosts, who were ruthless in attack thanks to the flourishing combination between Kadeen Corbin and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.

Brownie was switched back to goal-defence as Sirens tried to stem the flow but Team Bath, moving the ball with speed and confidence, were in total control as they finished the quarter with a 17-4 lead.

Guscoth and Eboni Beckford-Chambers were giving Sirens’ attack of Slater and Vanessa Walker no breathing space in the circle but the visitors were able to battle their way into the contest in a much more competitive second quarter.

It was a feisty, physical affair and it was only a Corbin penalty shot with the last action of the quarter that ensured Team Bath edged the second period 12-11 to take a 29-15 lead into half-time.

With goal average potentially playing a decisive part in the final Superleague standings, the Blue and Gold knew they had to up the ante in the third period if they were to increase their winning margin.

They did just that as some energetic and athletic attacking, epitomised by the indefatigable Rachel Shaw, saw them embark on a nine-goal scoring streak midway through the quarter.

They went on to take a 47-23 lead into the final period and continued to pull away in the closing stages as Chelsea Lewis, Paige Reed and Tash Pavelin all came off the bench to contribute to the victory.

Match stats

Team Bath Netball starting 7: GS Kadeen Corbin, GA Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, WA Rachel Shaw, C Mia Ritchie, WD Imogen Allison, GD Layla Guscoth, GK Eboni Beckford-Chambers. Replacements: Chelsea Lewis, Tash Pavelin, Paige Reed, Abi Robson, Zanele Vimbela.

Changes: Q4: Lewis – bench to GS; Corbin – GS to GA; Drakeford-Lewis – GA to bench; Pavelin – bench to WD; Allison – WD to bench; Reed – bench to GA; Corbin – GA to bench.

UWS Sirens starting 7: GS Shantal Slater, GA Vanessa Walker, WA Nicola McCleery, C Sara Bayman, WD Claire Brownie, GD Emily Nicholl, GK Nicole Aiken Pinnock. Replacements: Kelly Boyle, Ella Gibbons, Bethan Goodwin, Bethany Sutherland.

Changes: Q1: Sutherland – bench to WD; Brownie – WD to GD; Nicholl – GD to bench. Q3: Boyle – bench to WA; McCleery – WA to bench; Goodwin – bench to GA; Walker – GA to bench.

Quarter-scores: Q1 17-4. Q2 29-15 (12-11). Q3 47-23 (18-8). Q4 60-34 (13-11).

Attendance: 550.

The race to reach the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final is heating up – don’t miss out on the season-ending spectacular and get your tickets now!

 

 

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Home fans roar Team Bath to vital victory

Team Bath Netball reinvigorated their challenge for a semi-final spot after overcoming top-four rivals benecosMavericks 54-45 in a pulsating Vitality Netball Superleague showdown on Friday.

The Blue and Gold went into the match three points adrift of their fourth-placed rivals and knowing that victory was essential after last weekend’s surprise setback against UWS Sirens.

They looked to have the points safely in the bag as they took an eight-goal lead into the final quarter thanks to superb performances right across the court but Mavericks, spearheaded by a 100 per cent shooting rate from Karyn Bailey, refused to accept defeat and cut the gap to two with six minutes still to go.

A magnificent interception from captain Eboni Beckford-Chambers helped Team Bath regain the initiative and, roared on by an outstanding home crowd, they went on to record a vital victory.

Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach Anna Stembridge said: “It’s always a great game between ourselves and Mavs, and tonight’s contest really delivered. Mavs are a class side so we had to be good tonight and I’m proud of the way the girls responded.

“We stayed composed when Mavs got to within two and stuck to our gameplan, we didn’t deviate and we were absolutely clinical when we had possession. We absolutely needed that win and we’re right in the mix but let’s focus on one game at a time.”

There have been some classic encounters between Team Bath and Mavericks over the years and, given the importance of this fixture in the race for the top four, this one promised to be no different.

It lived up to all expectations with the tone being set in the first quarter as both teams quickly hit their stride. Shooters Kadeen Corbin and Bailey went goal for goal before tremendous mid-court pressure from Mia Ritchie and Imogen Allison forced the first turnover of the game, which Team Bath capitalised on to move into an 8-5 lead.

They had further chances to pull away but couldn’t take them and Mavericks took advantage to level the scores, only for the Blue and Gold to regain the initiative and restore their three-goal margin.

Back came Mavericks again to make it 14-14 with 30 seconds to go but a Corbin goal edged Team Bath ahead once more and she doubled the lead with the last shot of the quarter after Allison brilliantly intercepted the Mavericks centre-pass.

Wild About Flowers Player of the Match Allison was in inspired form and it was another stunning intercept from the wing-defence which allowed the hosts to extend their lead after an evenly-matched start to the second quarter.

Corbin and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis were also linking well in attack, fed superbly by the outstanding Ritchie and Rachel Shaw, as Team Bath opened up a seven-goal lead before Mavericks capitalised on a couple of mistakes to cut the home side’s advantage to four.

Chelsea Lewis, who came on for Drakeford-Lewis late in quarter two, scored the last goal of the half to put Team Bath 30-25 up and then rattled off four in a row at the start of quarter three to give the hosts a healthy advantage.

The lead grew to double figures but a tremendous battle saw the momentum swing once again in Mavericks’ favour as they scored six unanswered goals to get right back into the contest.

The home fans sensed the turning tide and turned up the volume, roaring their team on and helping them to get the match back on to an even keel before, with two minutes to go and with Drakeford-Lewis back in attack, they pulled away once more to take a 43-35 lead into the final quarter.

Any thoughts that the match was over were swiftly dispelled as four goals in quick succession saw Mavericks halve the gap. The tension rose in the Team Bath Arena as the visitors kept chipping away at the lead and, with half of the quarter remaining, the lead was down to two.

Team Bath needed a game-changing moment and they got it when Beckford-Chambers soared to get her fingers to a Kalifa McCollin shot and instigate an attack that led to Drakeford-Lewis finally netting the hosts’ second goal of the quarter.

The captain led by example again moments later to produce another stunning turnover and, roared on by the delighted home crowd, Team Bath were able to regain some breathing space before clinically killing the game off to eventually win by a nine-goal margin.

The race to reach the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final is heating up – don’t miss out on the season-ending spectacular and get your tickets now!

Karla Mostert

Team Bath Netball’s South African imports face off in domestic cup final

Team Bath Netball’s Karla Mostert and Lenize Potgieter found themselves on opposite sides when they contested the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League final in their native South Africa on Saturday.

And it was Mostert who emerged on the winning side as she produced a player-of-the-match performance to help the Free State Crinums to a 52-43 victory over Potgieter’s Gauteng Jaguars.

It was the third year running that Jaguars had lost to Crinums in the final.

Mostert and Potgieter, who helped Team Bath finish third during the 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague season, will once again be back on the same side this summer when they represent South Africa against Wales in three international tests.

The Welsh touring squad includes two Team Bath players, Chelsea Lewis and Amanda Varey.

Meanwhile, Team Bath Netball Head Coach Anna Stembridge and Director of Netball Jess Thirlby will be leading a three-hour evening coaching masterclass at the Sports Training Village on June 23, priced £35 per person.

For more information on the workshops or to book a place, visit the netball section of the Team Bath online store – http://store.bath.ac.uk/

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Team Bath celebrate Superleague and NPL seasons

Mia Ritchie, Karla Mostert and Chelsea Lewis were the main winners when Team Bath Netball staged their end-of-season awards dinner in conjunction with the Netball South West Goalden Globes.

Influential centre Ritchie, dubbed the Pocket Rocket, picked up both the Coaches’ and Players’ Player of the Year prizes during Sunday’s sell-out event at Somerset CCC in Taunton.

Welsh international attacker Chelsea Lewis received the Endeavour Award and South African defender Karla Mostert was named as the Supporters’ Player of the Season after receiving 29 per cent of the online vote at www.teambath.com.

Ritchie tweeted: “Absolutely stoked to get the 2016 players’ player & coaches’ player awards for @TeamBathNetball this season.”

Lewis added: “Loved every second with Team Bath this year and was delighted to win an award on the weekend.”

Mostert is now back in her native South Africa, where she has already helped Free State Crinums reach the semi-finals of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League.

Team Bath’s Netball Performance League (NPL) squad, made up of development players aged 16-19, were also involved in Sunday’s celebrations.

University of Bath Sport Performance student Paige Reed, who is supported by a Santander Sports Scholarship, was named as Coaches’ Player of the Year. Sam Sullivan won the Players’ Player accolade and Kirsty Harris took the Endeavour Award.

This year’s presentation took place alongside the Netball South West Goalden Globe Awards, which celebrated the work of volunteers, officials, coaches and players at all levels across the region.

The season may be over but the netball fun is continuing at the University of Bath thanks to a series of coaching workshops.

Team Bath’s Superleague players will be among those providing coaching at an U15 netball camp during next week’s half-term holidays. Open to children in Years 8, 9 and 10, it is taking place on May 31 and June 1 and is priced £45 for one day or £80 for two.

Head Coach Anna Stembridge and Director of Netball Jess Thirlby will then be leading a three-hour evening coaching masterclass at the Sports Training Village on June 23, priced £35 per person.

For more information on the workshops or to book a place, visit the netball section of the Team Bath online store – http://store.bath.ac.uk/