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Saracens Mavericks huddle at Season Opener

Saracens Mavericks got their Vitality Netball Superleague season started with a victory at Arena Birmingham as they dispatched of Severn Stars by 70-49.

Sasha Corbin got this Round 1 encounter underway with first centre pass, starting the move which led to the sister Kadeen’s first goal of the game as the goal attack sunk a shot within the opening seconds.

Georgie Rowe made the most of her first opportunity of the game as she equalised for her Stars, netting her and her side’s first goal of the season. Following an effort from George Fisher, Rowe once again levelled things up.

It was goal-for-goal for long periods of the first quarter but, due to some inspired play in both halves of the pitch, Stars gave themselves an early advantage. Paige Reed netted the last goal of the first 15 minutes to ensure her side went in 17-11 ahead.

After words with Head Coach Kat Ratnapala, Mavericks looked inspired as they came onto court for the second quarter. Fisher immediately reduced the deficit and the team in black began to eat away at their opposition’s lead.

Within five minutes of the restart, the London outfit levelled the scores at 18-18. Momentum was clearly with Mavericks and they remarkably ended first-half to lead by nine goals. Ratnapala’s side had completed the turnaround, in no small part to their 82% shooting accuracy and six intercepts.

Melissa Bessell attempted to influence the result from the sidelines and made the decision to bring on Ella Powell Davis on for Ama Agbeze in the third quarter. For Mavs, Sasha Corbin made her way off for England youth international Aliyah Zaranyika (WD) with Gabby Marshall moving to centre.

The changes clearly had a positive effect on the leaders as they restricted Stars to 12 goals in the third quarter of the match and scored 19 themselves. With Mavericks hoping for a top four finish this term, such proficiency in front of goal will have appeased the travelling fans.

With the scores at 53-37, Mavericks made sure of their victory in the fourth and final quarter of this encounter. Composed play and clever movement in Mavericks’ attacking two-thirds of the court made space appear evident.

Beth Ecuyer-Dale replaced Zaranyika with minutes remaining to gain her first appearance of the season as the versatile Marshall moved back to wing defence. After months of pre-season, though, even those who had been on court for the full hour looked fresh.

Saracens Mavericks starting seven – George Fisher (GS), Kadeen Corbin (GA), Georgia Lees (WA), Sasha Corbin (C), Gabby Marshall (WD), Jo Trip (GD), Razia Quashie (GK).

Severn Stars starting seven – Georgia Rowe (GS), Paige Reed (GA), Liana Leota (WA), Lucy Harris (C), Nia Jones (WD), Ama Agbeze (GD), Towera Vinkhumbo (GK).

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