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Netball Super League Round 13: Bath bite back

Team Bath and Surrey Storm got back to winning ways at either end of the Netball Super League standings in Round 13.

The four-time champions pulled away from the bottom two with a nail-biting win over Celtic Dragons that went down to the dying moments.

Surrey Storm offered two counterpunches to a rare defeat, meaning that the winner of Saturday night’s grandstand meeting with London Pulse will secure a top-four spot with six rounds to spare.

Bath back on track

Team Bath held their nerve for a thrilling 56-53 victory over Celtic Dragons.

Asha Francis’ side took their spoils in a see-saw contest in the south-west for a crucial third win of the campaign.

Dragons flew out of the blocks and into a four-point lead in their first game under Jill McIntosh, but that advantage was soon wiped out by a resurgent home side and they broke for half-time at 32-32.

The visitors made five changes in the course of the third quarter but couldn’t cut out the errors that opened the door for Jayda Pechova and Caroline Mtukule to make match-defining late turnovers.

“It’s another step forward for us towards the team we want to become,” said Francis. “We now want to take this momentum on the road.”

Stars show progress against Pulse 

Not many teams have got as close to London Pulse as Severn Stars did on Friday night.

Sigi Burger and Grace Namana’s relentless shooting accuracy helped the West Midlands side cut a slender six-point first-quarter lead to just four at half-time.

Sam Bird’s league leaders showed their inimitable class in the ‘Championship’ quarter, outsourcing Stars 15-8 in the third and made to sweat for their 11th win of the season.

It was a landmark night for six of Pulse’s best, too, with Funmi Fadoju, Zara Everitt, Olivia Tchine, Lindsay Keable, Ashleigh Dekker and Ellie Rattu all marking their 50th appearance for the club.

Stars have already doubled last term’s win tally and only second-placed Storm have kept Pulse to a more meagre winning margin in 2023.

Storm and Pulse collide this weekend and both sides sounded a winning note ahead of Saturday night’s regular season-defining clash.

Storm on song

Storm flexed their muscles in a 63-51 stroll against Saracens Mavericks and then again in a 65-49 success against Leeds Rhinos.

It was exactly the kind of bounceback Mikki Austin and team wanted after a sapping eight-point loss to Thunder in Round 12, a result not reflective of their progress this season.

“Thunder are a classy side so we can’t turn our noses up at losing to them, but we had to settle ourselves after that result,” said Austin.

“The onus is on us to execute in these games and it was really important we played with freedom and without fear, so we could get some of our confidence back.”

Storm and Pulse meet this weekend and both sides come into that titanic tussle on a winning note.

There are two new kids on the top of the Super League but don’t sleep on Loughborough Lightning who are always there when it comes to the late-season shake-up.

Since losing to Pulse in Round 9, Lightning have clinched victories by 20, 17 and now 16-point margins.

The latest to suffer at their hands were Strathclyde Sirens who led at half-time but were blown away by Mary Cholhok and company in the second half.

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