Wasps Netball survived a late Loughborough Lightning comeback to secure a well-earned 60-49 away win against last season’s Vitality Superleague runners-up.
Tamsin Greenway’s team led by 17 at one stage but the hosts fought back and reduced the lead to six, before Wasps pulled away in the final minutes.
The result continued Wasps’ undefeated start to the season while Loughborough have unusually suffered two successive defeats.
Wasps’ netball director Tamsin Greenway praised her team’s ability to respond under pressure.
“I thought in advance that this was going to be the one that challenged us and it was,” Greenway said.
“Even though we got that early lead, we knew they were going to come back because against teams of Loughborough’s quality you are never safe.
“There was an element of pressure, but it helped us to highlight some of our weaknesses, and how we responded to it was good to see.
“At this point of the season, you take it game by game and we’re not looking too far ahead. It’s all about us at the moment, how we’re playing and the improvements we need to make.”
The hosts started quickly, with last season’s Superleague top scorer Peace Proscovia registering the first goal of the contest.
Wasps kept pace with Loughborough early on, but pulled away when flying interceptions from Sam May and Amy Flanagan helped the visitors to take the lead for the first time.
And the visitors continued to display good intensity as they stretched their lead to nine at the end of the first quarter.
The home side appeared to find a way of working around the visitors’ defence in the second quarter, but struggled to make it count as half-time approached, with dynamic Wasps duo George Fisher and Rachel Dunn continuing their impressive shooting form.
Dunn and Fisher opened the third quarter in similar vein, meaning Wasps raced to a 17-goal lead within five minutes.
Loughborough stormed back into the game with Ella Clark regularly feeding Proscovia in the circle, and cut their deficit to 10 ahead of the final quarter.
And when they began the final 15 minutes with three further quick-fire goals, Wasps seemed like they would struggle to halt Lightning’s momentum.
The gap closed to six goals with six minutes to play, but Wasps sparked back into attacking life and some excellent passing combinations and shooting saw their advantage restored to 11 at full time.
Wasps’ next home fixture sees them face Team Northumbria on Saturday, March 10 (7.00pm centre-pass).
Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Team Northumbria on March 10 are available from from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets.
Wasps starting seven: GK Sam May; GD Hannah Reid; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Natalie Haythornthwaite; GA Rachel Dunn; GS George Fisher
Used Substitutes: Candappa (WA)
Loughborough starting seven: GK Shamera Sterling; GD Vicki Oyesola; WD Beth Cobden; C Natalie Panagarry; WA Hannah Joseph; GA Ella Clark; GS Peace Proscovia
Used substitutes: Airey (GD)