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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!

Peace 2

Lightning get their revenge

Loughborough Lightning managed to get their revenge on Team Northumbria last night with a convincing 20-goal victory.

After losing by one goal at the hands of Northumbria in the reverse fixture, Lightning put in a classy performance and were able to bring on some younger squad members.

Read the Lightning match report below:

Lightning hosted Team Northumbria in the Sir David Wallace Arena, where they enjoyed a 61 – 41 win in front of an electric home crowd. 

The last time Lightning and Northumbria met was away, where Northumbria took the win of 24-30. Lightning had an unfortunate result against Manchester Thunder on Saturday, the first fixture of their double-header, where they lost 61-51.

 Lightning headed out to the loudest home crowd so far this season. Natalie Panagarry took first centre pass, with Northumbria taking possession straight away through an interception. The first five minutes were full of errors as the ball left the court multiple times. The ball was soon back to Lightning hands, with Panagarry commanding the action. Northumbria took the first goal of the game. Hannah Joseph was on great form for the first quarter, and Peace Proscovia would put away Lightning’s first of the game following some fantastic inter-link play. Vanessa Walker found herself in a physical position between the Northumbria defensive players.

 Captain Ama Agbeze held discipline in what became a physical quarter, with Jo Trip showing fantastic defensive skill in the shooting circle. Lightning took an early lead at 5-2, with Northumbria finding enormous difficulty with Lightning’s defensive players Trip and Agbeze. Northumbria enjoyed numerous interceptions throughout the game, which highlighted Lightning’s ability to score with a small amount of possession. Walker had some fantastic plays in the later part of the quarter and showed great chemistry with Proscovia. Lauren Massey was on at WD as Lauren Nicholls rested on the bench after suffering an injury in their last game. Northumbria’s GK was cautioned for contact with two minutes to go in the quarter. A huge longball from Walker to Proscovia sealed the score at the end of the first quarter, 15-8 to Lightning.

 Panagarry kicked off the second quarter, repeating the first quarter as Northumbria intercepted. Trip earned back the ball and soon possession was wavering quickly between the two teams. Northumbria’s physicality upped in the second quarter, with Lightning struggling to avoid contact calls. Proscovia soon put away a goal for Lightning to secure a five-goal lead. Panagarry, Massey and Joseph once again showed some impressive interlinking plays in the first five minutes of the quarter. Panagarry had a huge charge down in the fourth minute preventing a Northumbria offensive play. Trip’s defensive prowess was key in keeping Northumbria down as Lightning stormed ahead with a six-goal lead.

 Northumbria were soon on the attack, with the physical nature of the game leading to some huge contact hits. They managed to close down the gap to a three-goal lead by Lightning with some great defensive plays. Lightning’s strength in defence prevented Northumbria from causing too much damage, keeping them at arms length for the remainder of the quarter. Panagarry handled the physicality of the centre third with great composure as her opposite players put her under huge pressure. Lightning were at a ten-goal lead with no signs of slowing down.

 HT: Loughborough Lightning 29 – 18 Team Northumbria

 Northumbria took first centre pass, with Massey quick to mount pressure on the Northumbria offensive players. The physicality of the game seemed to have improved after the first half was plagued by contact calls. Joseph constantly fed Proscovia with the ball, allowing Lightning to capitalise on their possession. In the fifth minute, tensions seemed to heat up as Northumbria struggled with a lack of discipline against the confident Lightning side. Spurred on by a noisy home crowd, Lightning held on to their ten-goal lead for much of the third quarter. Massey had a stand-out performance, finding her feet after a quiet first half with some dynamic plays. With five minutes to go, Lightning led 38-26. Northumbria seemed lacklustre in their defensive plays, with Lightning improving their lead every minute.

 The fourth quarter began 43-30 to Lightning, with Northumbria seeming to have lost their composure. Airey came on to replace Trip, with Corbin coming on for Walker and Coleman replacing Proscovia. Coleman was the first to score in the last quarter, and soon Lightning’s domination over Northumbria became apparent once more. Airey proved herself a valuable asset at GK as her opposite player struggled to score against her. Corbin soon warmed up and demonstrated her dynamic playing style. Lightning would take a sixteen-goal lead over Northumbria in the fourth minute of the quarter.

 The home side seemed only to improve as Airey and Agbeze demonstrated their skills in defence, with Massey and Panagarry working well in the centre third to provide Corbin and Coleman with the ball. Joseph was replaced by Campbell, with coach Karen Atkinson able to provide her substitutes with game time. Agbeze allowed no room for error by her Northumbria opposite, and Coleman put away the goal that secured a twenty-goal lead for Lightning. The pace of the game was all purple as Northumbria’s resolve seemed to weaken. Airey had a great interception, feeding Massey the ball who put away a longball to the offensive players. After a fantastic performance infront of an impressive home crowd, Lightning stamped out Northumbria to win 61-41.

 FT: Loughborough Lightning 61 – 41 Team Northumbria

Player of the Match Peace Proscovia had this to say:

“Im really excited to have played infront of this home crowd, and they really lifted me when I am down; I say every second, I have to do them proud, I have to do this, they are the reason I perform. The team was highly motivated today to win this game because we were looking forward to a top-four which we cant make now. The only thing is to work hard and look forward to the next season, that’s what we are looking forward to.”
Coach Karen Atkinson also commented:

“Pleased! I think we put a lot of demons to bed for some of the girls, not making it to the final four is massively devastating for us and also having played against this team and probably performed quite poorly and didn’t deserve to win the last time, I think it was really good to get four consistent quarters out there”

We have some really exciting young talent here at Loughborough Lightning, the early part of our season, just some of the results we were having just didn’t always allow them to get that exposure, but yeah, massively pleased and also proud of them in terms of how they stepped up, but a real credit to the guys that are out there for the first half, our first three quarters, who set that platform and enabled them to come out and play.”

Starting Seven:

GK – Jo Trip

GD – Ama Agbeze ©

WD – Lauren Massey

C – Natalie Panagarry

WA –  Hannah Joseph

GA – Vanessa Walker

GS – Peace Proscovia

Substitutes:

Nicholls

Airey

Campbell

Corbin

Steadman

Coleman

Tuaine Keenan

Keenan hoping for another win

Sky Sports Netball have been speaking with Team Northumbria’s Goal Keeper Tuaine Keenan ahead of tonight’s trip to Loughborough Lightning.

The first time these two sides met this season, Northumbria took a thrilling 47-46 win and will be hoping for more of the same tonight.

You can read the full Sky Sports article here: http://www.skysports.com/netball/news/12415/10239120/tuaine-keenan-hopes-team-northumbria-can-claim-another-thrilling-superleague-win

You can also read Sky Netball’s full match preview here: http://www.skysports.com/netball/news/12415/10233625/loughborough-lightning-meet-team-northumbria-in-vitality-superleague

Team Bath Netball 2016

Team Bath looking to build momentum after sealing semi-final place

Team Bath secured a top-four finish on Saturday when they beat Team Northumbria by 10 goals.

After Loughborough Lightning lost at the hands of Manchester Thunder, Bath knew that they needed to beat Northumbria to make it to the play-offs.

Read the Bath match report below:

Team Bath Netball have achieved their first goal of the season after a hard-fought 51-41 win at Team Northumbria secured their place in the Vitality Netball Superleague semi-finals.

Now Director of Netball Jess Thirlby wants the team to play with freedom and commitment in their last two matches of the regular season and continue to build their confidence and momentum before challenging for a sixth Superleague crown.

“Qualifying with two games to go is a good position to be in, especially as it has been a really competitive season,” she said.

“It is the first target hit but we feel like it is just stage one of our goals for the season, so everyone was a bit muted after the game unsure of how much attention to pay to our semi-final qualification.

“We had to remind each other that we should be patting ourselves on the back for what we have achieved so far. This is testament to the team’s ambition to go all the way and take nothing for granted.

“It was a highly physical game on Saturday and the team at the beginning of the season may have found themselves in more trouble but we have shown real growth in our resilience and ability to get through games where the opposition is putting us under real pressure.

“We handled it really well on Saturday and [Head Coach] Anna [Stembridge] and I are incredibly proud of how the players maintained their performance. They have definitely come a long way this season.”

A 61-51 defeat for fifth-placed Loughborough Lightning at Manchester Thunder earlier on Saturday meant Team Bath – backed by Carter Jonas – went into their game knowing a win would guarantee a top-four finish.

A tense opening quarter In Newcastle saw the visitors edge into a 12-11 lead but they were much stronger in the second period and stretched the gap to 27-19.

Team Northumbria continued to battle and won the third quarter 13-12 but Team Bath were able to hold firm and went on to close out a 51-41 victory.

Next up is a trip to Hertfordshire Mavericks, who currently lead the Superleague table on goal average from Manchester Thunder.

The match on Saturday, April 16 (6.30pm) could be a dress rehearsal for the semi-finals and Thirlby wants to see the Blue and Gold put in a strong performance, especially after suffering defeat in the reverse fixture last month.

“The Mavericks game was already a critical step on our journey,” she said. “It is important that we come away this weekend feeling like we have made a massive step forwards against the top teams. We need that for our confidence going into the semi-finals.

“We go to Loughborough Lightning on the last day of the regular season and despite the fact they can’t qualify for the semi-finals now, that will also be an incredibly tough match.

“But it’s good we have these difficult away games to finish on. The shackles are off and hopefully the players will be able to perform with real freedom.”

Finishing in the top four means Team Bath will definitely be heading to the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday, May 7 for the season finale, either for the Grand Final or the third-place play-off.

Tickets for the showpiece event are on sale priced either £32 or £24 for adults and £24 or £16 for under-16s. They are available at http://tickets.sky.com/Netball/Vitality-Netball-Superleague-Grand-Final.

Team Bath’s end-of-season awards dinner will take place on Sunday, May 22 at Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton in collaboration with the England Netball and Netball South West Goalden Globes Awards.

Tickets, which include a two-course buffet meal, are priced £25 for adults and £15 for under-16s. They are on sale in the netball section of the Team Bath Online Store – http://store.bath.ac.uk.

Team Bath Netball starting seven v Team Northumbria: GS – Chelsea Lewis, GA – Rachel Shaw, WA – Jo Vann, C – Mia Ritchie, WD – Claire Brownie, GD – Eboni Beckford-Chambers, GK – Sam Cook. Bench: Lenize Potgieter, Shaunagh Craig, Amanda Varey, Nicole Humphreys, Karla Mostert.

Changes: Q2: Vann – WA to bench, Varey – bench to WA, Beckford-Chambers – GD to GK, Cook – GK to GD. Q3: Potgieter – bench to GS, Lewis – GS to GA, Shaw – GA to bench. Q4: Lewis – GA to bench, Craig – bench to GA, Varey – WA to bench, Vann – bench to WA, Cook – GD to bench, Mostert – bench to GD.

Photo Credit: David Roper for Matchtight.