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Rachel Dunn returns to the Netball Super League with Celtic Dragons

Rachel Dunn returned to the Netball Super League court for her 18th season, joining Celtic Dragons as an injury replacement.

Her new side lost out to one of her old teams, Surrey Storm who kept their place at the top of the table.

Manchester Thunder secured two wins in Round 7, coming from behind against Severn Stars, with Loughborough Lightning also having to fight back against Leeds Rhinos.

Elsewhere, Strathclyde Sirens enjoyed a record-breaking evening against Saracens Mavericks.

Dunn makes her NSL return for Dragons

English netball icon Rachel Dunn made a roaring return to the NSL with her Celtic Dragons debut on Monday night.

The three-time World Cup medallist was announced as Dragon’s newest member on Monday afternoon, replacing the injured Chelsea Beard, just mere hours before she took to the court in the green dress.

She was straight into the starting seven as she continued her record of appearing in every Netball Super League season, coming up against the side with whom she won two titles.

Despite her thrilling return, Dragons were undone by a dominant Surrey Storm who notched a 68-40 victory at the Surrey Sports Park.

Storm kept up their unbeaten home record with a powerful opening quarter, that saw them establish a 13-goal lead.

Celtic Dragons fought back in the third quarter, but defiant defence from Amy Flanagan, Layla Guscoth and Leah Middleton saw Storm close out the win comfortably.

Sirens record largest margin of victory since 2017

Strathclyde Sirens have become a dark horse this season, a truth that was no more evident than during their 71-47 victory over Saracens Mavericks on Friday.

The Scottish side recorded their largest margin of victory since their 73-36 victory over Celtic Dragons back in February 2017.

Captain Claire Maxwell was the key to such a dominant performance in front of a home crowd.

Her calm composure and early interception pushed Sirens in the right direction after a hard-fought first quarter.

Mixed with the flair of Beth Dix and the defending prowess of Towera Vinkhumbo, who secured an impressive six interceptions, six deflections and 11 turnovers, Sirens powered ahead to victory.

Mavericks fought well in the opening 15 minutes, levelling each score and fought to the end as Ine-Mari Venter soared to 1000 goals in the NSL.

But it was not enough to battle against a rampant Sirens side.

Thunder hold strong during Stars

Manchester Thunder were made to work hard in a dramatic all-or-nothing 63-56 victory over Severn Stars on Saturday.

Stars gave the defending champions a brilliant show at the University of Worcester Arena, holding a 46-41 lead over the visitors after three quarters.

But some crucial turnovers by Shadine van der Merwe and the Thunder family sealed the deal in the final few minutes of play and they roared ahead with an impressive 22 goals to Stars 10 in the final quarter.

The victory earnt Thunder three wins in seven days after cruising to a 76-57 victory over Team Bath on Friday.

First-quarter inspiration from Josie Huckle saw Thunder grab seven goals unanswered but a smart defensive play by Bath quickly reigned in the champions, Caroline Mtukule and Jayda Pechova opting to double-mark Lenize Pogeiter.

But the pressure appeared to get to Bath during a well-fought second half and Iona Christian and Lois Pearson steered Thunder to another victory.

Lightning strike in second-half comeback

Loughborough Lightning were inspired to a 63-49 victory over Leeds Rhinos in a resounding second-half comeback.

Vic Burgess’ side maintained their 100% at home record and moved up to third in the table as they denied Rhinos their first win of the season.

Vicki Oyesola was a shining light in the Rhinos defence as she worked hard to grab some vital gains whilst Paige Reed and Brie Grierson fired the Yorkshire side to an early lead.

Earning her 150th NSL appearance, Lightning captain Nat Panagarry was crucial in centre court as both teams battled it out in a closely-fought game.

But the fast-paced Lightning attack was finally able to capitalise on several long balls and edge themselves ahead in a dominant final quarter.


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