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Netball Super League Round 18: Storm end regular season with defeat

Surrey Storm’s regular season came to a close with a defeat to Loughborough Lightning in Round 18 of the Netball Super League.

Storm’s top four counterparts all picked up wins while there were intriguing battles at the bottom of the table.

Team Bath put a narrow defeat to Leeds Rhinos behind them to beat Saracens Mavericks on Monday night.

Lightning strike down Storm 

Loughborough Lightning took a big step towards a home semi-final with a statement 64-46 victory away at Surrey Storm.

Fran Williams was once again the star of the show, picking up the Player of the Match award on her 100th NSL appearance thanks to her work keeping the Storm shooting circle quiet – six turnovers, three intercepts and three deflections represented an evening’s work well done for the 25-year-old.

At the other end, Mary Cholhok continued her pursuit of the top goal scorer award with another 54 goals – the Ugandan is just one goal off 700 and already surpassed her total from last season.

For Storm, the result marked a disappointing end to their regular season with their 13 wins and five defeats likely to see them finish fourth and set up a semi-final with the league leaders.

Mikki Austin’s side will take plenty of heart from having two weeks to recharge their batteries ahead of that match, as well as a strong defensive showing across the court; both goal attack Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and defender Layla Guscoth picked up seven turnovers each.

Team Bath snap streak on the road 

Team Bath Netball sealed their first away win of the season with an impressive 57-54 win at Saracens Mavericks.

Camilla Buchanan’s Mavericks have enjoyed a strong second half of the season but were beaten in a nail-biter by a Bath side who continue to show exciting shoots of potential.

Kiwi Ali Wilshier earned Player of the Match for an all-action performance from wing attack, as she and Bethan Dyke produced a steady supply of ball to Betsy Creak, Kadeen Corbin, and Sophie Kelly.

Kelly and fellow 18-year-old Jayda Pechova continued to get plenty of court time across the Blue & Gold’s double-header weekend, with Asha Francis’ side narrowly going down 59-55 to Leeds Rhinos.

Monday’s result meant there was no fairytale farewell for Sasha Corbin in front of the Hertfordshire Sports Village faithful, but the legendary captain still has three more matches remaining to ensure Mavericks end the season in fifth ahead of Severn Stars.

Thunder and Pulse march on 

With the Grand Final just a few weeks away, Manchester Thunder and London Pulse both produced performances that showed they were fine-tuning ahead of the season’s showpiece at the Copper Box Arena.

Thunder returned to Belle Vue with a convincing 74-51 victory over Severn Stars, as the hosts proved simply too strong for Jo Trip’s side.

Lenize Potgieter and Lois Pearson continued their devastating partnership in the circle with 48 and 21 goals respectively, as the trio of Nat Metcalf, Iona Christian and Amy Carter combined for a huge 96 feeds between them.

At the same time on Friday night, London Pulse earned a hard-fought 71-53 victory away at Celtic Dragons. 

A tight first quarter saw the league leaders hold just a two-goal lead but that was soon quickly forgotten as Sam Bird’s side pulled away before the break to lead by eight at halftime.

Without star player Funmi Fadoju, Pulse were unaffected as captain Zara Everitt stepped into the void at goal defence with a Player of the Match performance.

Rhinos produce superb comeback 

Leeds Rhinos signed off from their final home game of the season in style with a superb 59-55 comeback victory over Team Bath.

Team Bath looked all set for victory as they led 36-25 at the break before a huge third quarter saw the game turn on its head, as Rhinos restricted the visitors to just seven goals in the third quarter.

Vicki Oyesola was again the standout for Rhinos in defence, producing another five deflections and four turnovers, while Caroline O’Hanlon produced 42 feeds for Ellie Bird and Paige Reed.

It was the perfect way for Rhinos to sign off in front of the Yorkshire faithful as they earned their third win of the season ahead of two away fixtures against Stars and Dragons.

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