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Thunder v Rhinos

Thunder kept up their unbeaten season with victory over Rhinos (Image: @Merrick_marthew)

Teams sprung shocks and the play-off picture got a little bit sharper in Round 17 of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

There was a third win of the season for Celtic Dragons and a fifth for Strathclyde Sirens as points flew in all directions across the weekend.
There was still room for the usual suspects – another mind-blowing attacking display from Manchester Thunder and a clinical performance from Loughborough Lightning.
Hereโ€™s what we learned with four rounds left in the season and just 26 days to go until the Grand Final.

Rhinos edge thriller against Storm

It was a seminal week for Leeds Rhinos – not least because 4,000 fans packed out the First Direct Arena to watch them play Roses rivals Thunder.
Their big target was a win at Hullโ€™s Allam Sports Centre two days earlier against Surrey Storm, a side they knew could be vulnerable on the road.
Rhinos delivered the kind of clutch performance they have been threatening all season long, keeping their composure having been outscored 18-14 in a frenetic first quarter.
The home side were 47-45 down with seconds to go but a crucial late turnover from Vicki Oyesola and sanguine shooting from Sigi Burger sealed the deal.
On Tuesday came the news that head coach Tracey Robinson will move on at the end of the season.
The Australian has built on the growing momentum behind the franchise and leaves an ideal platform for her successor.

Bath in Play-Off hunt despite defeat

Team Bath have stolen a march as the bolter in the race for the top four and the five-time champions look to have done enough to be in the post-season shake-up.
Lightning proved a step too far as they stretched away from their old rivals in the third quarter, scoring eight of ten goals in a strong run that earned victory.
Hannah Passmore made a good impact coming off the bench at goal shooter, the kind of circle depth they will need to keep up with the top sides in the semi-finals.
The south-west sideโ€™s defeat means that London Pulse can effectively secure a top-four spot this weekend. With Dragons and Wasps coming up, Bath should join them soon.

First home win for Dragons

It had felt like it was coming for a while, but Celtic Dragons clinched their first home win of the season with a 57-51 victory over Severn Stars.

Laura Rudland was named Gilbert Player of the Match as she notched a match-high 19 feeds from wing attack to drive her side to their third win of the season.

Georgia Rowe and Lefebre Rademan were also in fine shooting form, netting 35 and 22 goals respectively as Stars were unable to keep up with their hosts

A huge third quarter was ultimately decisive, as Dragons outscored the visitors 17-7 to establish a lead they never relinquished.

Wins for Wasps and Sirens

Round 17 also brought big wins too for Wasps and Strathclyde Sirens as both sides battle it out to finish in the top eight.

Wasps sealed a dramatic 46-45 win over Dragons thanks to a last-minute goal that secured a third win in a row for the Coventry side.

There was also victory for Sirens, who ended a run of four defeats with a 57-50 win over Saracens Mavericks.

Beth Dix recorded 26 feeds while Bethan Goodwin made the most of the good service with 35 goals to get Sirens back to winning ways as they battle with Wasps for the top eight.

Magnificent Mvula

Manchester Thunder continued their imperious form with an 84-49 win away at Leeds Rhinos.

Key to their big total was the sharp shooting of goal shooter Joyce Mvula who netted a huge 60 goals for the league leaders.

It takes the Malawi international to over 600 goals for this season, and sheโ€™ll have the chance to beat last seasonโ€™s total of 699 with at least four more games for Thunder to play, having already qualified for the play-offs.

The Manchester side have been the standout performers in this season’s Vitality Netball Superleague, and will hope to clinch the title at the Grand Final on June 5.

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