Round 1 – Team Northumbria 39 – 52 Team Bath Netball
A well-earned 52-39 victory at Team Northumbria and the opportunity to give all 12 squad members some game time made for an encouraging start to the 2018 season for Team Bath Netball. The Blue and Gold won three quarters and were edged out by just one goal in the other as they came through an intense opening match.
Round 2 – Celtic Dragons 35-54 Team Bath Netball
Despite the result, it was certainly an improved performance from Celtic Dragons. The lapses in concentration that had affected them in Round 1 were far fewer however vice-captain Kelly Morgan was keen to see further improvements. Morgan said: “I think we could have done more to stop some their runs in the game, but credit to the defenders in front of me who helped get us some turnovers at the back.
Round 3 – Team Bath Netball 60-44 Surrey Storm
At the end of a fluctuating first quarter, there was nothing to separate the two sides before the Blue and Gold gave a sell-out crowd of 1,420 supporters plenty to cheer during a stunning second period. Team Bath converted numerous turnovers as they stormed into a 32-20 half-time lead. Surrey Storm battled away in the second half but the damage had already been done.
Round 4 – Severn Stars 47-48 Team Bath Netball
Severn Stars suffered defeat in the final seconds of the match for the second time this season. The team took a 10 goal lead at one stage, and, with six minutes to go, were three points in front. But, in a tight last 30 minutes and frantic finale, relentless pressure from Team Bath saw them net a dramatic winner with less than 10 seconds left on the clock.
Round 5 – Team Bath Netball 60-34 UWS Sirens
The Blue and Gold set the tone during a phenomenal first quarter as they stormed into a 17-4 lead. UWS Sirens battled back in a feisty and physical affair but Team Bath proved their top four credentials by remaining composed throughout to extend their advantage.
Round 6 – Team Bath Netball 51-60 Manchester Thunder
An inspired Manchester Thunder saw-off Team Bath. From the outset Thunder were intense and clinical, especially in attack, and were not fazed by coming up against one of the best defences in the league. Team Bath Netball battled hard and enjoyed periods of dominance but they had no answer to Thunder’s fluidity and pressure, most notably in the second half.
Round 7 – Loughborough Lightning 54-59 Team Bath Netball
Team Bath took a one-goal lead in the first quarter and were ahead 31-29 at half-time. There were moments in the game when the Blue and Gold squad surged ahead only for Loughborough to battle back in a thrilling contest. A strong third quarter, which Team Bath finished with a six-goal lead, ultimately seemed to make the difference.
Round 8 – Wasps Netball 61-44 Team Bath Netball
Wasps Netball secured a comfortable victory on their return to Vitality Netball Superleague action. Commonwealth Games gold medal winners Natalie Haythornthwaite and Jade Clarke returned for Wasps, with England teammate Kadeen Corbin taking to the court for the visitors at the Ricoh Arena. The game provided the hosts with a ninth successive victory.
Round 9 – benecosMavericks 57-41 Team Bath Netball
benecosMavericks opened up a six-goal lead after the opening quarter and never looked back with some sharp shooting seeing them extend their advantage going into half-time. Five-time champions Team Bath struggled to keep possession and turnover ball, while benecosMavericks kept the scoreboard ticking over.
Round 10 – Team Bath Netball 66-39 Celtic Dragons
A first-half masterclass by Team Bath secured the points for the hosts. Dragons rallied in the third quarter and outscored their hosts 17-10 to cut Team Bath’s lead but the Welsh club were unable to complete a comeback.
Round 11 – Team Bath Netball 51-35 Severn Stars
Team Bath Netball produced what Player of the Match Layla Guscoth described as a “championship quarter” to set up an ultimately convincing victory in the West Country derby. Just three goals separated the two sides at half-time but Team Bath turned up the heat in a dominant third quarter as they stretched their advantage to 40-29 to effectively settle the game as a contest.
Round 12 – Surrey Storm 51-56 Team Bath Netball
Outstanding shooting backed up by inspired defending helped Team Bath Netball come through a tough challenge at Surrey Storm. Blue and Gold Head Coach Anna Stembridge said: “Storm have been picking up form and played superbly, so to see the way we took on that challenge and thrived on it was very pleasing.”
Round 13 – Team Bath Netball 54-42 Team Northumbria
Team Bath dominated all areas of the court as they stormed into a 20-7 lead but a second-quarter slump in form allowed a resurgent Northumbria side back into the contest and close the half-time deficit to just five goals. The Blue and Gold regained their attacking sharpness and were able to thwart Northumbria’s comeback hopes.
Round 14 – UWS Sirens 51-43 Team Bath Netball
UWS Sirens pleased their home crowd with an overdue and well-earned win at the Emirates Arena in their first game of the double-header weekend. The Scottish side dictated play, forcing the visitors into pressured passes. They also capitalised on fast-paced possession as they raced through the court to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Round 15 – Team Bath 54-45 benecosMavericks
Team Bath reinvigorated their challenge for a semi-final spot. They looked to have the points safely in the bag as they took an eight-goal lead into the final quarter but Mavericks, spearheaded by a 100 per cent shooting rate from Karyn Bailey, refused to accept defeat and cut the gap to two with six minutes still to go. Team Bath dug deep though to record a vital victory.
Round 16 – Team Bath Netball 42-43 Loughborough Lightning
A sensational final-quarter fightback was not quite enough to salvage a result for Team Bath Netball as Loughborough Lightning held on for a single-goal victory. The hosts found themselves trailing 37-27 at the end of a third period but refused to accept defeat. Layla Guscoth forced a turnover to give the hosts a chance to level with just three seconds remaining but the shot hit the ring.
Round 17 – Team Bath Netball 40-58 Wasps Netball
A professional performance from visitors Wasps in front of more than 1300 spectators at the Team Bath Arena saw them emerge victorious from a feisty contest. Wasps advantage overall came from some intense play around the circle feeding into the metronomic shooting of Rachel Dunn.
Round 18 – Manchester Thunder 54-47 Team Bath Netball
Manchester Thunder ground out an important win over Team Bath at a colourful Thunderdome. It was a game that had a bit of every shade, from red-hot swift attacking play to resolute defensive work and purple patches for both teams. Bath gave as good as they got, continuously coming back every time Thunder threatened to extend their lead.
Semi-Final – Wasps Netball 54-39 Team Bath Netball
Team Bath made a flying start but defending champions Wasps fought back strongly. The visitors were forced into a series of errors and found themselves 29-13 down at half-time, with the match effectively over as a contest. The Blue and Gold refused to let their heads drop, though, and won the second half 26-25 to provide a battling finish to their season.
Imogen Allison, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Kadeen Corbin, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Asha Francis, Layla Guscoth, Chelsea Lewis, Tash Pavelin, Paige Reed, Mia Ritchie, Abi Robson, Jazz Scott, Jess Shaw, Rachel Shaw, Zanele Vimbela.
British Fast5 All-Stars Championship
Team Bath will be out for revenge and another crack at getting their hands on the trophy in the 2018 edition of the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship.
The Blue and Gold were pipped to the title by a last-gasp Renske Stoltz long bomb in 2017.
Last year’s runners-up will be back to show their mettle in the short form of the game with seven other Vitality Netball Superleague teams on Saturday 13th October from 1-6pm.