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).