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TeamBath v Manchester Thunder 04/03/22www.claregreenphotography.com

Manchester Thunder's Shadine van der Merwe defends against Team Bath Netball Image: Clare Green Photography

Monday Night Netball brings a clash of titans for brilliant bank holiday viewing.

Vitality Netball Superleague leaders Manchester Thunder will hope to extend their three-point advantage over second-placed Loughborough Lightning, while fourth-placed Team Bath Netball are determined to maintain their grip on a play-off position.

Will Thunder extend their win streak to 16, or will Team Bath Netball be the squad to conquer the unbeaten side at Belle Vue Sports Village?

Coverage on Sky Sports Mix and Arena is underway at 5pm with build-up and analysis ahead of a 5.30pm centre pass.

Last Time They Met 

You only need to look at the scoreline from the teams’ last clash to appreciate just what a close one tonight’s matchup might be.

Thunder eventually came out on top of the 57-53 contest at Team Bath Arena, but it was a cagey affair with dramatic twists and turns.

The Blue & Gold led for the first 45 minutes but Thunder found a new gear at the end of the third quarter, flipping their 42-39 deficit into a 49-42 lead, adding to their advantage in the closing stages.

Last Five Meetings 

March 2022: Team Bath Netball 53 – 57 Manchester Thunder

June 2021:  VNSL semi-final – Manchester Thunder 38 – 41 Team Bath Netball 

May 2021:  Manchester Thunder 41 – 44 Team Bath Netball 

March 2021: Team Bath Netball 60 – 35 Manchester Thunder

May 2019: VNSL semi-final – Manchester Thunder 57 – 54 Team Bath Netball

The Season So Far 

Thunder fans are notoriously loud, and their side’s record speaks volumes about their 2022 campaign.

And the return to a home-and-away format seems to have well suited the Mancunian side, who have dominated from day one,  beating Celtic Dragons 79-53 before taking a 70-45 victory over Severn Stars on the opening weekend.

It wasn’t until March 28 that the league leaders came up against defending champions Lightning, ending their unbeaten run with a 66-61 victory on the home side’s turf.  

Team Bath Netball, meanwhile won five straight to begin the season before falling to Thunder, Lightning and Wasps in a trio of tough matchups.

But they’ve bounced back and found their form, winning every contest from round 11 onward – momentum they’ll be keen to keep up tonight.

Key match-up  

The table-toppers will be missing some key figures in the line-up, with Yomi Eza-Wilson out with injury and England international Natalie Metcalf in isolation.

That means a big call-up for training partners Emilia Roscoe and Ruby Parker, who may have the opportunity to test their mettle in one of the most vital matches of the season.

But they’ll have to contend with a tough Team Bath Netball defence anchored by Layla Guscoth, who leads the league in intercepts.

In Numbers 

Eleanor Cardwell’s accuracy was key for Thunder in the last match-up between these sides and could be critical again. She’s at 457 goals on the season, good enough for fifth place in the VNSL, with team-mate Joyce Mvula in third place with 514.

It’s no wonder, then, Thunder has a commanding 1047 goals on the season – the only side to crack the four-digit mark and 114 more than second-placed Lightning.

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