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Round 16: Stars book their spot in the final four

Severn Stars booked their place in the top four with victory over Leeds Rhinos on an emotional weekend in the Netball Super League.

Surrey Storm and Team Bath Netball both played their final home matches, while Strathclyde Sirens earned their first win of the season.

There was also an impressive victory for Cardiff Dragons while the weekend rounded off in style at the AO Arena, as Manchester Thunder overcame London Pulse in a dramatic final few minutes.

Stars book semi-final spot

Severn Stars sealed a first-ever semi-final with a 61-56 win away at Leeds Rhinos.

Stars knew they needed just one point at the University of Huddersfield but were pushed all the way by a resurgent Rhinos side, who knew a victory would set up a thrilling final few weeks of the regular season.

However, Stars did enough to take maximum points from their trip to Yorkshire, pulling away decisively in the third quarter after the sides were all square at half-time.

Both side’s shooters, Joyce Mvula and Sigi Burger, shone in the circle, putting up 40 and 49 goals respectively with Stars’ Burger ending with 96% accuracy.

Burger battled relentlessly against Rhinos’ defensive circle of Geva Mentor and Zoe Davies, who earned six and seven deflections each, while Stars’ Ella Powell-Davies produced four gains.

Stars have two regular season matches remaining, including a last-ever home game against Team Bath next Friday, before they head into their maiden play-off campaign.

Thunder overcome Pulse in thrilling final quarter

Manchester Thunder stormed from behind to topple London Pulse 44-40 in front of a roaring crowd at the AO Arena.

Pulse started on the front foot and ran to a 13-10 lead in the first quarter but it was never that simple.

Their lead was reduced to a one goal lead at the half as Thunder roared back into contention with Shadine van der Merwe silencing the Pulse shooting circle on the other end of the court.

With the score sat at 19-18 with two quarters to go, both sides were proving just why they had already sealed their spots in the final four in a tantalising battle.

Pulse fought back in the third quarter and edged a margin of 33-27. Funmi Fadoju proved as decisive as ever, with some crucial tips to turn the ball in her team’s favour.

The Pulse defender clocked an incredible 12 deflections and two interceptions to fire her team ahead in what was a standout defensive performance.

But the Thunder team were not done there, continuing to close the gap through Paige Reed and ultimately levelling the score with just four minutes of play left.

In what was a remarkable comeback, it all came down to the final few moments, with the table toppers showing their strength to power ahead and win by four goals.

Sirens break duck against Bath

Strathclyde Sirens earned their first win of the season with a 57-50 win against Team Bath.

An emotional evening in the South West, with both sides not heading into the 2025 season, led to a fiercely competitive encounter with Bath taking a slim early lead before a huge fourth quarter from Sirens earned victory.

The teams were level 41-41 heading into the final 15 minutes, but it was Sirens who kicked to earn a seven-goal win and leapfrog their opponents in the table.

Sammy Ngubane once again led from the front, scoring 43 goals from goal attack while Cerys Finn continued her impressive form at goal keeper with another three gains.

That was bettered only by Team Bath’s Jayda Pechova with eight, with the Vitality Roses defender also earning three intercepts and four deflections.

It was not enough, however, to prevent defeat as the Blue & Gold played their final home game in front of a sold-out crowd.

Lightning emerge from the Storm

Loughborough Lightning squeezed past Surrey Storm 72-68 in an enthralling final game at Surrey Sports Park.

Storm, twice Netball Super League champions, played their final match in front of their fans and delivered a performance to remember despite ultimately being narrowly defeated by the title holders.

Mikki Austin’s side raced into a 21-17 lead after the first quarter, becoming only the second side to score over 20 goals in a quarter against Lightning this season.

Lightning are champions for a reason, however, and clawed their way back in front with a 20-goal quarter of their own to head into half time 37-35 to the good.

But Storm were not done and reduced that lead to one heading into the final quarter but Lightning produced some vital turnovers in the final five minutes to notch another victory.

Much of Storm’s success stemmed from the flawless shooting of Proscovia Peace-Nwokocha, who put up 51 goals, while Sophie Drakeford-Lewis added another 17 at 94%.

It was in stark contrast to Lightning, with both Mary Cholhok or Ella Clark dipping below 90%, but the defending champions continued to get enough ball into the circle to clinch all three points.

That was in no small part down to Nicola Smith, who earned four gains and nine deflections.

Dragons power past Mavericks

Cardiff Dragons posted their biggest win of the season with a 63-43 win away at Saracens Mavericks.

Dragons pushed into an early 17-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back, making full use of their early advantage to press home an impressive victory.

Their lead remained at 11 goals at half-time as Mavericks fought their way back into the game, but Dragons kicked on in the third and fourth quarters to wrap up a memorable afternoon in Hertfordshire.

Georgia Rowe led the charge for Dragons, scoring 57 goals at 98%, while Elle McDonald and Khanyisa Chawane combined to keep the circle fed.

For Mavericks, a Netball Super League debut for Sophie Egbaran was the highlight as the 19-year-old came off the bench and scored the first two goals of her NSL career.

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