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Wasps secure first win of the season

Wasps Netball secured their first win of the season with a hard-fought 57-53 victory over Saracens Mavericks at Ricoh Arena.

It was a high-intensity match-up between two of the league’s top sides, which saw the Black and Golds pull away in the second quarter and maintain that margin through the second half.

Mel Mansfield’s side will now face Team Bath at Team Bath Arena in their next fixture on Friday night (7.30pm centre-pass).

Mansfield said: “This was a really important win for us tonight. It was about how the team were feeling at this stage in the season and it will be a big boost.

“I was pleased with our start after our poor start last week and we were able to keep the pressure on after half-time.

“It’s only game two of a long season and we know we have plenty to improve on.

“Lexi Baker had an exceptional game at Goal Attack but we needed something different in the second-half and Katie Harris is so reliable for us.

“We’ve got another big game on Friday night and we’ll approach training now this week with some real positivity and confidence.”

Wasps started the quicker of the two sides and rushed out to an early three-goal lead, with the new shooting partnership of Rachel Dunn and Lexi Baker already showing promise.

The visitors came straight back with three unanswered goals, with ex-Wasp George Fisher proving clinical at the other end.

The Black and Golds started to win the mid-court battle as the quarter went on, with the trio of Amy Flanagan, Jade Clarke and Iona Christian quick to force turnovers.

The first 15 minutes came to a close with Wasps’ lead at two, with both sides battling for every ball.

Mavericks scored three quickfire goals to take the lead at the start of the second quarter, as the hosts struggled to penetrate in attack.

Back came Wasps behind the combination of Baker and Dunn, kick-starting a great run which saw them regain the lead and stretch it to five goals.

Hannah Knights and Fran Williams continued to shut down the Mavericks attack and the home side led by six at halftime.

Mavericks were back level within two minutes of the restart, which saw Mansfield introduce Katie Harris at Goal Attack to change the momentum.

Harris made an immediate impact linking up with Dunn to regain a foothold and a lead for Wasps.

Flanagan was the difference-maker in the third quarter, blocking off passing lanes for the visitors and forcing key interceptions as the hosts led by four going into the final quarter.

Wasps pressed on in the fourth quarter and further opened up their lead with a clinical shooting display.

The home side were able to maintain their advantage and secure a four-goal margin victory.

Attendance: 964

Player of the match: Lexi Baker

Wasps starting seven: GK Hannah Knights; GD Fran Williams; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Iona Christian; GA Lexi Baker; GS Rachel Dunn

Used substitutes: Katie Harris GA

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