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Wasps’ Greenway: “We want to be even better and we know we can be”

Wasps Netball director Tamsin Greenway has challenged her team to keep seeking improvement ahead of their final outing before the play-offs.

The table-toppers have already secured a place in the Vitality Netball Superleague semi-finals ahead of the match in Newcastle on Saturday 23 June (6pm centre-pass).

Wasps are currently enjoying a three-match winning run, including a last-time-out nail-biting victory against benecosMavericks in their final game at the Ricoh Arena this season.

Greenway, who has seen increased playing time on court recently, says her team are now striving to be at their best for the semi-finals.

“We came away as winners against Mavericks on Monday but the players were still unhappy with their performance. We want to be even better and we know we can be,” said Greenway.

“This season we have taken building early leads for granted and at times slipped in the middle of games. That just can’t happen. We have to show the mental capacity to push on.

“I’ve got to be happy with the situation we are in right now. We’ve only got one game left to play and we’re sitting comfortably at the top of the league.

“But there is no complacency from us. At the end of the day it’s about how you perform when it really matters.”

Team Northumbria come into the game following a 63-33 defeat to Severn Stars and are currently ninth in the division.

Wasps beat the Newcastle-based side 74-38 at the Ricoh Arena earlier this season and Greenway is looking for another impressive performance in the reverse fixture.

“It was the resilience in the team that impressed me last time out. We showed just how good we can be and we want to show that again when we take on Team Northumbria,” added Greenway.

“We have a very deep squad and that will benefit us at this stage of the season, as we have a lot of different combinations and changes we can make.

“Our young stars have been exceptional this season but our experienced players will be vital now. Everything is magnified and experience will count for everything when we hit the semi-finals.”

Wasps’ semi-final will take place at the University of Worcester Arena on June 30.

Wasps have teamed up with coach partner Zeelo to prove a return park and ride service to Worcester for £15 per person, to find out more visit www.zeelo.co/rides/wasps

For updates on tickets for the semi-final call the ticket office on 02476 786 411 or go to https://bit.ly/2loys8N

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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Dragons slain by impressive Northumbria

Team Northumbria slayed Celtic Dragons with a convincing 58-47 victory at Northumbria University on Saturday night to make it two wins in two over Wales’ premier franchise.

Ash Neal won the battle of the Superleague siblings against sister Kyra Jones – owning the centre court in a vital game at the bottom of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

Dragons are the lowest scoring team in the league but the visitors got off to a good start – scoring straight from the centre pass to state an early intent.

A close contest ensued with both teams ruthless underneath the net and relentless in attack.

This led to a one-point lead in the first quarter in the favour of the Tynesiders, who looked full of confidence with the prospect of opening up a three-point gap at the bottom with a win.

Dragons initiated the scoring again in the second quarter but a fast-paced display of netball seemed to work in TN’s favour as Hayley Mulheron and Lauren Ngwira mopped up with the interceptions.

The North East team went on to dominate the next few minutes, letting loose with a fantastic offensive display – TN’s New Zealand duo Chiara Semple and Tamsin Moala linking up brilliantly to create a nine-point lead in a matter of minutes.

TeAroha Keenan’s side went into the break 30-23 ahead – setting the team up to push on in the second half.

The pace seemed to slow down in the penultimate quarter and Julie Hornweg’s half time talk clearly had an affect on the Dragons’ style of play as they descended upon the TN goal.

Consistency was the gateway to a comeback and Dragons certainly looked as if they had found the key with sharp shooting from former TN favourite Georgia Rowe.

But they met their match against a resilient TN side who equalled the Cardiff club in all areas and saw the quarter out 43-33.

An inspired TN team went full throttle in the final quarter, scoring 15 points on their way to their third win of 2018 in front of the Sport Central faithful.

With just three games remaining of the regular season, TN now have a chance to improve on last year’s ninth place with the Dragons win putting them level on points with UWS Sirens and hot on the heels of Surrey Storm.

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!

Tuaine Keenan

Northumbria go out on a high

Team Northumbria beat Celtic Dragons by their largest winning margin of the season on Saturday.

Northumbria Goal Keeper Tuaine Keenan has impressed this season and has said she already can’t wait for the 2017 season.

Read the Northumbria match report below:

Player of the season Tuaine Keenan is committed to the job she started after revealing next season can’t come soon enough.

The no-nonsense defender has forged a formidable partnership with England call-up Leah Kennedy for Team Northumbria this season.

And the pair put in a typically robust shift to see off Celtic Dragons in the club’s final Netball Superleague clash of the season.

The hosts bagged their biggest win of the year with a 60-47 demolition of the Dragons and Keenan said: “We’ve really come together in the last few weeks.

“Four wins this season isn’t the best record and we’re frustrated we didn’t reach our target of six.

“But the results don’t tell the real story.

“We’ve all learnt a huge amount about ourselves and each other and we’ve grown together.

“That’s why I want to come back next season and maintain that progression.

“We needed time to gel as a group because there’s so much diversity within our squad.

“But now we’ve done that there’s no telling what we could achieve next season.”

It remains to be seen whether head coach TeAroha Keenan will keep the core of her NSL roster together ahead of the 2017 campaign.

But the current squad’s potential was there for all to see against a Dragons side that won the corresponding fixture by eight goals in Cardiff.

“That was a poor performance and we have struggled with the travel and the schedule at times,” added Tuaine Keenan.

“I think that has something to do with the fact that we’re a young and inexperienced squad.

“At the start of the season it was unlike anything a lot of the players were used to but we’ve learnt what we need to do.

“It was important we signed off the season in style and on a personal note I still can’t believe that the fans decided I was their player of the season.

“After just one season here it means so much. I’m on a five-year visa here and I have every intention of coming back next season!”

TN had opened up a three-goal lead against the Dragons at half-time but stepped up a gear after the break.

Coach Keenan stuck with the same seven players for the final three quarters and that consistency paid off.

Kennedy reclaimed the captain’s armband and responded to the extra responsibility in style – celebrating last week’s England call-up with her best display of the season.

And once again rookie shooter Chiara Semple showed just why she has been identified as one of the rising stars of Superleague.

Dragons had no answer to TN’s quality across the court with Rebecca Neil a deserved winner of the player of the match award.

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The race to the semis

This weekend will see the final round of Vitality Netball Superleague action before the all-important semi-finals!

There are three fixtures on Saturday 23rd April and one match to be played on Monday 25th April before the play-offs on Saturday 30th April.

As we already know, the four teams making it through to the semi-finals are Manchester Thunder, Hertfordshire Mavericks, Surrey Storm and Team Bath – but the positions in which they finish are not yet cemented.

The first game up on Saturday is at 6pm between Loughborouh Lightning and Team Bath, with the away side looking to put pressure on the top three teams in the league.

Lightning will want to finish their season on a high, and after the disappointment of not reaching the play-offs will be determined to get a win against Bath, making it an intriguing battle.

The following two matches on Saturday will both begin at 6.30pm with the clash between Hertfordshire Mavericks and Surrey Storm being LIVE streamed on the website here: http://www.netballsl.com/members-area/login/

For Mavericks to have the chance to catch Manchester Thunder at the top of the table (they’re currently six points clear) they need to beat Storm and ultimately beat Thunder in Manchester on Monday at 6.15pm – so there’s a huge weekend lying ahead for the team from Hertfordshire.

In the other 6.30pm match on Saturday, Celtic Dragons will make the journey from Wales to Newcastle as they face Team Northumbria for a match where both sides will be battling for pride and to finish their seasons with a win.

This is set to be a huge weekend of Vitality Netball Superleague action, and definitely a weekend not to be missed!