BRITISH FAST 5 NETBALL ALL-STARS
Vitality
Chiara Semple

Team Northumbria looking to do the double

Tonight’s Monday Night Netball is the showdown between Team Northumbria and Loughborough Lightning.

Both sides will be looking to bounce back after weekend defeats. Northumbria will be wanting to do the double over Lightning and close the gap on fifth place.

Read the Northumbria match preview below:

Team Northumbria loom to do the double over fierce rivals Loughborough Lightning tonight and show the Netball Superleague that their campaign is far from over.

With just two games remaining Te Aroha Keenan’s side cannot achieve their pre-season target of six top flight wins.

But back-to-back victories in their final two fixtures will secure five wins – the franchise’s best return for some time.

TN edged Lightning in a thriller at Sport Central earlier this season and wing attack Brie Grierson said: “Hopefully it will be just as exciting for the neutral as it was last time.

“We won but a point and we’ll be looking for a more comfortable margin of victory second time around.

“Our aim is to improve upon out previous performance against every side we face and it’s no different with Loughborough.

“We can’t win six games this season but if we can win five – and finish of with two wins – it represents progress.”

TN rookie Grierson has emerged as a key asset for TN after signing in the close-season.

The versatile centre court star is fresh from England Under 21 training and impressed against Team Bath on Saturday night.

The hosts lost 51-41 to one of this season’s playoff challengers – after losing by 30 the last time the two teams met.

“I think a big thing for us is just to improve on our last performance against all of our rivals,” added Grierson.

“Against Bath – and against every other side that’s beaten us this season – we’ve reduced the deficit and that’s really positive.

“Obviously there are still things to work on because we didn’t beat Bath. But there were definitely opportunities for us to push on and we made it a lot closer.

“We gelled so much better as a team even though we had quite a few changes. But those changes were made because different players offer different things that could have helped us win.”

TN looked every bit as promising as their opponents until a lapse of concentration allowed Bath to establish an eight-point lead in the second quarter.

A catalogue of dubious umpiring decisions did nothing to help TN’s cause and a fiery encounter ensued – packed with penalties for contact and obstructions.

“It came as a bit of a shock getting taken out right at the start,” added Grierson. “It’s funny how people say netball is a non-contact sport when it definitely isn’t!

“You’ve just got to get on with it really because the umpires don’t really give you anything so you can’t play to that.

“We had to train hard and prepare for that because we knew we were going to come out and get hit.”

Tonight’s clash is live on Sky Sports (7.45pm centre pass).

Loughborough Lightning's Peace Proscenia challenges Stacey Jayne Francis for the ball

Jets come within minutes of first win

Yorkshire Jets let their finl quarter lead slip on Saturday to lose by five goals against Team Northumbria.

In their final chance to win at home this season, Jets were on the path to victory with a six goal lead in the final 15 minutes but slipped to a 50-45 defeat.

Read the Jets match report below:

Yorkshire Jets came within minutes of their first win of the Vitality Netball Superleague season but couldn’t hold on to claim victory against a determined Team Northumbria side.

In their last home game of the season, they went into the final few minutes with a lead but were outplayed in the fourth quarter to lose by five points.

The first quarter was a bruising affair with clashes between players across the court. After a number of misses in front of the post, Jets found their shooting form and managed to keep up with the visitors as the teams went goal for goal. Team Northumbria led by one after 15 minutes.

The two sides continued to be evenly matched in the second quarter and both made a number of unforced errors gifting their opponents. Jets though managed to have the slight advantage in the period and went into half-time level at 24-all.

Jets came out all guns blazing after the break and an impressive passage of play saw them take the lead. With their opponents rattled, they managed to hold on to take a four-point lead into the final quarter of the game.

The big question now was whether they could maintain their consistency – an issue throughout the season for Jets. The disappointing answer was no – as Team Northumbria turned it on for the final few minutes and turn a four-point deficit into a five-point win to the dismay of the capacity crowd.

Jets don’t have much time to mull on what might have been, their Superleague campaign resumes on Monday evening against high flying Hertfordshire Mavericks away from home. The televised game begins at 7.45pm.

Attendance:

610

Player of the Match:

Maria Lutua

Quarterly Scores:

  • Q1 – 12-13
  • Q2 – 24-24
  • Q3 – 35-31
  • Q4 – 45-50

Shooting Statistics:

Yorkshire Jets – 70% (45/64)
Alex Kirk – 58% (11/19)

Maria Lutua – 76% (34/45)

Team Northumbria – 85% (50/59)

Chiara Semple – 91% (29/32)

Shanice Beckford – 83% (15/18)

Lynsey Armitage – 67% (6/9)

Starting 7s:

Yorkshire Jets

  • GS – Alex Kirk
  • GA – Maria Lutua
  • WA – Jess Shaw
  • C – Lydia Walker
  • WD – Sophie Halpin
  • GD – Stacey Francis
  • GK – Bea Skingsley

Team Northumbria

  • GS – Chiara Semple
  • GA – Shanice Beckford
  • WA – Brie Grierson
  • C – Nicole Dixon
  • WD – Emily Hollingworth
  • GD – Leah Kennedy
  • GK – Tuaine Keenan
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Five vying for play-off places

The race for the Vitality Netball Superleague play-off places is now between just five sides as we enter the last four rounds of the regular season.

Yorkshire Jets, Team Northumbria and Celtic Dragons are now out of the running to take hold of one of the desired play-off places.

This now leaves Loughborough Lightning to chase the current top four as they sit six points behind Team Bath and Surrey Storm on 15 points with four more games to claim the vital victories.

This coming Saturday 2nd April there are some vital games being played as Ligthtning travel to Surrey Storm and Manchester Thunder host Hertfordshire Mavericks.

In the early fixture of the day, Yorkshire Jets will be battling for their first win of the season as they welcome Team Northumbria to Leeds Beckett University.

With so much to play for in these final four rounds, who will finish with the play-off places all sides dream of at the start of the season?

Hertfordshire Mavericks' Layla Guscoth (left) in action

Mavericks stay on track

Hertfordshire Mavericks win over Team Northumbria on Saturday, combined with their Easter Monday win over Loughborough Lightning has meant they remain on track for the play-offs.

Mavericks beat Northumbria 64-40 and Lightning by a closer margin, 51-48.

To read the Mavs report from their victory against Northumbria, go to their website here: http://www.mavericksnetball.co.uk/news/mavericks-train-stays-on-track-for-playoffs-with-another-big-win/