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Funmi Fadoju leans ove to defend against Ine-Marie Venter

Image: Megan Ewens

London Pulse wrapped up Round 9 in thrilling fashion with a dramatic 45-43 win over Saracens Mavericks to keep pace with the top two in the Netball Super League.

Meanwhile, Manchester Thunder ensured they sit top of the Super League at the halfway stage with victory over rivals Leeds Rhinos.

Thunder were comfortable winers on home soil but stay at the summit on goal difference as Loughborough Lightning beat top four rivals Severn Stars.

Elsewhere, there were victories for Cardiff Dragons edged out neighbours Team Bath while Surrey Storm got past Strathclyde Sirens.

Pulse beat Mavericks in Monday night thriller

Fans had to wait until Monday night for the conclusion of Round 9, but were duly rewarded for their patience as London Pulse beat Saracens Mavericks 45-43 in a nail-biter at the Copper Box.

Halimat Adio was the hero for Pulse, as the defender stepped up to produce a game-winning turnover at the death.

There was little to choose between the sides throughout, with Pulse carving out a narrow lead thanks to one-goal leads in each of the first three quarters.

Olivia Tchine once again led the attack, producing the best shooting figures of the match with 29 goals at a rate of 91% but it was the hosts’ defensive efforts that proved decisive.

Funmi Fadoju led the way as usual with six intercepts, nine deflections and seven gains, while colleagues Adio and Zara Everitt were not far behind.

Mavericks ultimately left the capital without a point despite coming so close, but will take plenty of encouragement from running Pulse so close.

Aliyah Zaranyika continued to impress at wing defence, while 21-year-old Indya Masser also maintained her strong showings at centre.

Thunder win Battle of the Roses

Manchester Thunder earned regional bragging rights with a 67-37 win over Leeds Rhinos

Thunder were dominant through the contest, restricting Rhinos to single figures in the first three quarters before finishing with a flourish by putting up 23 goals.

Lois Pearson once again starred in the circle for Karen Greig’s side as the goal attack continued her superb form this season, as she top scored for Thunder with 27 goals with a shooting rate of 93%.

Fellow shooters Elmerè van der Berg and Paige Reed also added 19 and 21 respectively as Thunder ensured they would remain top of the table.

Nat Metcalf and Amy Carter both provided over 40 feeds, while Shadine van der Merwe notched five interceptions and five gains.

For Rhinos, Joyce Mvula top scored with 28 goals as she continues the form that sees her sit third in the overall top scorer charts.

Storm return to winning ways

Surrey Storm earned their fourth with of the season with a 62-48 victory over Strathclyde Sirens.

Storm edged a narrow first quarter 15-13 before decisively pulling clear in the second to go into half-time with a 31-22 that they never relinquished.

Sirens stayed close throughout, and lost the final quarter by just a single goal, but were ultimately unable to overcome the early deficit

Proscovia Peace top scored with 33 goals but Sophie Drakeford-Lewis continued her impressive showings with a flawless 15 goals, and Frankie Wells also shot at 100% for her 13 goals.

Wing defence Rosie Harris was named Player of the Match thanks to her three deflections, four gains, and one pick up while goal keeper Haniisha Muhameed produced a huge nine gains.

Sirens continued their steady improvement, with Sammy Ngubane again the main threat in attack while young goal keeper Cerys Finn maintained her strong start to life in Super League with four deflections and two gains.

Dragons edge Battle of the Bridge

Cardiff Dragons moved into the top half of the Netball Super League with a 52-46 win against local rivals Team Bath.

The contest was billed as a Battle of the Bridge and Dragons returned over the Severn with all three points, with Player of the Match Elle McDonald the driving force throughout.

McDonald produced 39 feeds and earned three deflections, two pick ups and four gains in a true all-court performance as her side picked up their fourth win of the season.

That means Dragons have already doubled their number of wins from last season, with the likes of Khanyisa Chawane, Nia Jones, and Jacqui Newton continuing to impress under Jill McIntosh.

Team Bath will take plenty of heart from the narrow defeat, with Tash Pavelin again standing out with six deflections and five gains

Head coach Asha Francis said: “We didn’t come away with the outcome we wanted but in terms of the performance, the fight and how dynamic we were, that is something we really need to take and make sure we push on. I feel we performed across all four quarters and some of the changes we made showed good impact.”

Lightning battle past Stars

Loughborough Lightning produced a killer third quarter to earn a 68-52 win over top four rivals Severn Stars.

Lightning led 32-30 at the break after two ferociously close quarters but pulled clear after the break by winning the third quarter 20-10 to establish an unbreakable lead.

Beth Cobden was named Player of the Match as she played her part in a resolute defensive performance from the visitors, with Alice Harvey winning nine deflections and six gains.

There was a similarly robust defensive showing at the other end, as Jas Brown and Jo Trip both impressed despite Mary Cholhok notching another 48 goals to extend her lead at the top of the top goal scorers standings.

Stars’ Sigi Burger is 70 behind after her 36 against Lightning at an impressive rate of 95%, however it was not enough to earn victory for her side who suffered their third defeat of the season.

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