Wasps Netball slipped to their first defeat of the season as an impressive Manchester Thunder side won 64-55 at Ricoh Arena.
The visitors delivered a flawless first-half performance to gain an early 15-goal advantage over the Vitality Netball Superleague reigning champions.
Mel Mansfield’s side attempted to mount an impressive final-quarter comeback, but Thunder held on for a deserved win.
The loss marks the end of a seven-game winning streak for Wasps, who remain at the top of the Superleague table.
Mel Mansfield said: “Thunder were ruthless today, they were really quick and we struggled to force turnovers.
“It was very much a game of two halves. It wasn’t a good start but then we were great for the second 30 minutes, showing guts and resilience in the second-half.
“We can work on some things for next time we play them, but it wasn’t a good enough start.
“It’s important we don’t get frustrated. This game was the first time we’ve been under serious pressure this season. We’ll learn from that experience and be better next time.
“We’re back here at Ricoh Arena on Sunday against Severn Stars and will be looking to bounce back with a win.”
Wasps started slowly, conceding six goals in the opening minutes as Thunder gained an early lead.
The Black and Golds put their counter-attacking skills to good use, scoring two goals in quick succession and went blow-for-blow with Thunder for the majority of the first-quarter.
Shooting duo Katie Harris and Rachel Dunn were instrumental, finishing off some excellent moves in the circle.
Thunder continued to find success in the circle and remained a constant threat, as Wasps trailed by seven at the close of what was their toughest quarter of the season so far.
Goal Shooter Joyce Mvula was pivotal as her side gave Wasps their first double-digit deficit of the season – breaking past the 30-goal mark.
Rachel Dunn kept her composure to keep Wasps in the game, but Thunder’s irresistible attack proved too much for the Superleague champions in a near-perfect first-half display.
The Black and Golds started the third-quarter promisingly, but soon Thunder stretched to a 20-goal lead.
Wasps fought back with five goals in quick succession and gathered momentum as Dunn continued her fine shooting display to close the gap to 13 heading into the final-quarter.
The hosts looked to mount a late comeback but left it too late to catch Manchester Thunder, who came away with a well-fought 64-55 win.
Wasps Netball’s next fixture will see them face Severn Stars at Ricoh Arena on Sunday 10th March.
Wasps starting seven: GK Josie Huckle; GD Hannah Knights; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Bongi Msomi; GA Katie Harris; GS Rachel Dunn
Used substitutes: Sophia Candappa (WA), Jade Clarke (WD), Amy Flanagan (WD)
Thunder starting seven: GK Kerry Almond; GD Emma Dovey; WD Laura Malcolm; C Caroline O’Hanlon; WA Leota; GA Kathryn Turner; GS Joyce Mvula
Photo credit: Robert Milne