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Team Bath's Imogen Allison and London Pulse's Jade Clarke go head-to-head in the Netball Super League (Picture: Charlotte Clark)

Team Bath's Imogen Allison and London Pulse's Jade Clarke go head-to-head (Picture: Charlotte Clark)

London Pulse continued their dominance at the top of the Netball Super League table in a thrilling Round 12 weekend of action.

Leeds Rhinos and Saracens Mavericks went toe-to-toe in a tightly-fought battle whilst Severn Stars clinched an equally tight win over Strathclyde Sirens.

Manchester Thunder sealed the deal over previous table toppers Surrey Storm whilst Fran Williams shone bright for Loughborough Lightning.

Pulse shine bright at the top

London Pulse might be top of the Netball Super League table, but they were made to fight against a roaring Team Bath in a 70-48 battle.

Pulse undoubtedly started on the front foot but soon found themselves battling against the hosts, in a toe-to-toe second and third quarter at the Team Bath Arena.

However, a rallying final 15 minutes for Pulse saw the visitors edge ahead and clinch a comfortable win.

Malawi Queens captain Caroline Mtukule made her first Super League start for Team Bath,ย as Funmi Fadoju and Olivia Tchine were on top form for Pulse.

Fadoju capitalised on several turnovers in the opening few minutes to push Pulse head with six goals unanswered.

The third quarter was highly entertaining as a run of five goals from the visitors was soon overturned, Team Bath fighting to close the gap so just two goals separated the teams in 15 minutes.

But the momentum quickly fell for Bath and Pulse pulled ahead once more in a one-sided quarter led by Tchine, scoring nine of the first 11 goals to set the tone- and win.

Thunder battle it out over Storm

Manchester Thunder earned a hard-fought 57-49 victory over former leaders Surrey Storm on Friday.

Storm ended Thunderโ€™s long unbeaten run with a 56-49 win in Round 2, but Karen Greigโ€™s side got their own back with a strong showing in front of a raucous Belle Vue crowd.

Thunder are without a number of key players, including defensive duo Kerry Almond and Shadine van der Merwe but the imperious performances of Josie Huckle and Ella Bowen meant their absence was not felt.

Mikki Austin rang the changes in an attempt to find the perfect formula – with shooter Proscovia Peace scoring just nine goals, while Greig made not a single sub throughout the 60 minutes.

The hosts boasted a 27-20 lead at the break after limiting Storm to just eight goals in the second quarter, but the visitors roared back after the break with an 18-goal third quarter, the introduction of Francesca Wells and Felisitus Kwangwa yielding dividends.

Thunder wrested back control of the contest, however, with Player of the Match Nat Metcalf and mid-court partner Amy Carter were relentless with their feeds into Lenize Potgieter and Lois Pearson, who both finished with 100% shooting statistics to fire Thunder to victory with a dominantย finalย quarter.

Saracens grab thrilling one-goal victory over Rhinos

Saracens Mavericks clinched a dramatic one goal 54-53 victory over Leeds Rhinos at the Leeds First Direct Arena.

It was a tense affair from the start, with a see-saw game seeing both teams forced to capitalise on every slight error from their opponents in order to convert a goal.

Vicki Oyesola was a turnover machine for Rhinos as they clawed back to level the score multiple times against their visitors.

The attacking prowess of Mavericks held strong as Ine-Mari Venter and Kira Rothwell worked well together in the circle.

Despite Rhinos incredible fight, Mavericks were able to edge ahead every time as the energy inside the First Direct Arena roared to life.

And Camilla Buchanan’s team clung to their lead in the final moments as Ellie Bird’s efforts in the circle fired Rhinos back into the mix, scoring three consecutive goals to bring them just one point within a draw.

Vinkhumbo v Burger headlines a tense battle

There was another tense thriller on Saturday night as Severn Stars edged out Strathclyde Sirens 52-49.

Stars were quick out of the blocks in Glasgow but Bethan Goodwin was a scoring machine for Sirens, sinking several long shots to keep them in arms reach.

A Niamh McCall long-range effort on the buzzer put the Scottish side up 14-13 at the first break before Stars edged ahead in the second.

The match-up between Sirens goalkeeper Towera Vinkhumbo and Stars goal shooter Sigi Burger proved to be a highlight, the Malawi defender keeping the scores level once more with a crucial intercept just before the break.

In another closely-contested third quarter, play by Emily Nicholl and Vinkhumbo pushed Sirens into the lead going into the final 15 minutes.

However, a miscommunication in the Sirens defence allowed Stars to go up two and use their newfound momentum to fire ahead and seal the win in the final moments.

Fran Williams is a defensive weapon for Loughborough

Fran Williams picked up another Player of the Match performance as Loughborough Lightning sealed a 65-48 victory over Celtic Dragons.

Williams grabbed eight interceptions, four deflections and nine turnovers against the Welsh side, proving that she really is a lightning bolt on the court.

The 25-year-old has the most interceptions this season on 40, just two over Dragons icon Shaquanda Greene-Noel.

Dragons were under new management for the first time this season as Jill McIntosh recently took the mantle of head coach.

McIntosh came up against a strong Loughborough side who showed their physicality, picking up three cautions and a warning for Nat Panagarry over the course of the game.

With Emma Thacker back in the goal attack position, clinching 18 goals alongside the metronomic Mary Cholhok, and Dragons without defensive pair Ella Powell-Davies and Annabel Roddy through injury, it ended as a comfortable victory for the Loughborough team.

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