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Round 14: Pulse and Lightning secure semi-finals spots

Credit: @paulsaro_photography

Loughborough Lightning and London Pulse both secured their places in the Netball Super League semi-finals with wins in Round 14.

London Pulse beat Strathclyde Sirens on Friday night before Loughborough Lightning downed Cardiff Dragons on Saturday to join them.

Already-qualified Manchester Thunder survived a tough battle against Saracens Mavericks while Leeds Rhinos triumphed in the battle of blue and gold against Team Bath.

Fourth-place Severn Stars also secured a big win with a comfortable away victory at Surrey Storm to put them in pole position for the final spot.

Pulse push on for semi-final spot

London Pulse defeated Strathclyde Sirens 63-45 to secure a place in the top four for a third consecutive season.

Sirens, who are still searching for their first win, started the brighter of the two sides before last season’s beaten finalists kicked into gear.

The usual suspects in defence of Halimat Adio and Funmi Fadoju allowed Pulse to turn the tide while Olivia Tchine and Nichole Taljaard combined well in the shooting circle.

At the break, Pulse held a 13-point lead but were made to battle to extend it as director of netball Sam Bird rung the changes.

Darcie Everitt impressed again, working well alongside Trinidad & Tobago’s Jeresia McEachrane as Pulse closed out the match.

Lightning continue defence

Loughborough Lightning also made it into the final four with an accomplished 68-47 win over Cardiff Dragons.

A killer second quarter put Lightning into a comfortable position as both defences shone.

Beth Cobden, in the wing defence bib, produced two intercepts, two deflections and four gains with Nicola Smith producing similarly impactful numbers.

Cardiff Dragons grew into the game with Jacqui Newton leading the defensive charge for the visitors, but it was not enough to deny Lightning the win.

Stars outdo Storm

Strong scoring from Severn Stars saw them defeat Surrey Storm 69-42 in a result that is potentially crucial for the race for the last semi-final spot.

After scoring 17 in each of the first two quarters, Stars sunk 19 goals in the third while restricting Storm to 10.

Storm were further restricted from scoring in the final quarter as Stars flexed their muscles.

Sigi Burger scored at 98% while Jas Brown won Player of the Match for keeping Proscovia Peace and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis largely quiet.

Rhinos up to fifth

With Storm’s defeat to Stars, Leeds Rhinos capitalised with a 65-50 win over Team Bath to move up to fifth in the table.

With strong showings from Team Bath in the second and final quarter, Leeds Rhinos did the damage in the third period, winning it 18-9.

Joyce Mvula scored 52 of Rhinos’ goals while Geva Mentor was at her imperious best at goalkeeper.

Thunder beat out Mavericks

Like Leeds Rhinos, a crucial third quarter helped Manchester Thunder to a 62-52 win over Saracens Mavericks.

Elmere van der Berg missed just one attempt on goal in the goal shooter bib as Thunder reined in an early Mavericks lead.

A six-goal lead at half-time stretched to 10 by the full-time buzzer but with Lightning triumphing by 21, the 2023 champions now have a higher goal difference than Thunder.

The Mancunian franchise still remain three points ahead of Lightning but they will know any slip-up could make a real difference in the table.

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