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Betsy Creak and Jasmine Brown reach for the ball

Image: Robbie Stephenson/Fever Pitch

The second half of the 2023 Netball Super League season arrived with a quartet of enthralling fixtures across the Easter weekend.

There were wins for the top three, with just goal difference separating the trio as the race for the top spot hots up, while there were plenty of positives for Strathclyde Sirens and Severn Stars.

Here are your key takeaways from Round 11:

Storm fight back to regain top spot 

Surrey Storm overturned a six-goal deficit at halftime to beat Strathclyde Sirens 65-61 in a thrilling encounter on Monday night.

The victory sees Mikki Austin’s side return to the top of the table on goal difference, ahead of London Pulse and Manchester Thunder.

They were pushed hard for their three points, however, by a Sirens side that went toe-to-toe with the table-toppers, proving their credentials to mix it with top four contenders.

Bethan Goodwin shot a match-high 43 goals, while Beth Dix and Abi Robson combined superbly in the midcourt to leave Sirens fans looking up the table for the second half of the season off the back of that showing.

It was not enough for the win on Monday, however, as a 35-29 lead at the break was blitzed by a nine-goal swing towards Storm in the third quarter.

Captain Yasmin Brookes’ 40 feeds proved pivotal as the league leaders showed plenty of fight that could serve them well come the business end of the season.

Pulse cruise past Rhinos 

London Pulse briefly reached the Netball Super League summit with a comfortable 66-34 victory over Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.

The win moved Pulse onto 27 points from 10 games, level with Manchester Thunder and Surrey Storm, though with a game in hand on the latter.

Olivia Tchine once again earned the Player of the Match accolade thanks to her 42 goals that move her up to fifth in the top goalscorers charts.

But Pulse’s defence continue to impress too, with their 461 goals conceded comfortably the best record of any side so far this season; Funmi Fadoju starred on Saturday with five intercepts, seven deflections, and seven turnovers.

There was impressive defensive work too from Vicki Oyesola, who produced six deflections and six turnovers from goal keeper but it was not enough to keep her side in touch against a dominant Pulse outfit.

After claiming their first win of the season last week against Celtic Dragons, Rhinos will hope to claim a second at home to Saracens Mavericks on Sunday.

Stars produce comeback to beat Bath 

Severn Stars overcame an early deficit to beat Team Bath 61-51 and post their fifth win of the season.

The Blue & Gold led 17-11 at the end of the first quarter, but Stars claimed the next two quarters by margins of eight and seven to wrest back control of the match and seal a 10-goal win.

Sigi Burger continued her superb form in the circle with a huge 52 goals, with the 46 feeds of Jess Shaw the third-highest individual tally of any player this season, earning the wing attack the Player of the Match award in the process.

Stars now sit fifth with 11 games under their belt, and now sit just six points off the top four.

For Bath, defeat sees them remain eighth with two wins from their 10 matches so far, but Asha Francis’ side continued to show plenty of promise.

Sophie Kelly once more top-scored with 24 goals from goal attack, while fellow teenager Jayda Pechova continued her fine form at goal keeper with five intercepts; her tally of 32 for the season is the joint-second most alongside Fran Williams, only Shaquanda Greene-Noel has more (37).

Thunder post eighth win on the spin 

Manchester Thunder kept up their winning run with a 59-43 win against Celtic Dragons on Friday night.

In front of a sold-out crowd in Cardiff, Thunder controlled the contest from start to finish, quickly establishing a seven-goal lead in the first quarter that they never relinquished.

The combination of Lenize Potgieter and Lois Pearson once again impressed in the circle for the visitors, while goal defence Ella Bowen shone in the absence of Shadine van der Merwe with a Player of the Match performance on her first start of the season.

For Dragons, Hannah Leighton was the standout performer as her excellent form continued in the midcourt with another all-action performance.

However, defeat leaves Dragons bottom of the pile with 10 games played, though Dannii Titmuss-Morris’ side will be confident of turning that around thanks to the nature of their performances so far.

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