Anna Stembridge believes that back-to-back sell-out Vitality Superleague home matches against Wasps and Manchester Thunder will provide the perfect motivation as Team Bath Netball seek an instant response to their disappointing defeat at Saracens Mavericks.
The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold, missing co-captains and England Commonwealth champions Serena Guthrie and Eboni Usoro-Brown through illness and injury, made a number of uncharacteristic errors during Saturday’s match which ruthless Mavericks took full advantage of to record a 68-45 victory.
Team Bath remain fourth in the table, though, and are looking forward to playing two games in the space of a week in front of capacity crowds at the Team Bath Arena.
Defending champions Wasps are first up on Friday (February 22, 7.30pm centre-pass) – they boast the only unbeaten record this season but Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach Stembridge says her players are ready for the challenge.
“In many ways it could not be better for us, facing Wasps after that Mavericks setback,” she said. “You want to test yourselves against the best teams in the league and we know we have to be better than we were at the weekend, plus we’ll have a sell-out home crowd cheering us on.
“Wasps have made a strong start to the season but both Mavericks and London Pulse had really good games against them and put them under real pressure. This league is extremely close and competitive, and the results so far have shown that anyone can beat anyone.
“The girls were obviously disappointed on Saturday but they are looking forward to getting back into training, getting back in front of the home fans and putting out a good performance.”
Team Bath made a solid start against fellow high-fliers Mavericks in Saturday’s televised game but allowed the hosts to finish the quarter strongly and stretch a three-goal advantage to 18-10.
The visitors were uncharacteristically wasteful in possession and clinical Mavericks punished them by extending their lead to 35-22 at half-time and 53-31 in the third quarter. The fourth period was more even but the damage had been done and Mavericks recorded a victory that moved them up to second in the table.
There were positives to take from the game for Team Bath, though, with Stembridge saying: “Kim Commane had another strong game in attack and it was great to get Amanda Varey, Abi Robson, Laura Rudland and Beryl Friday out on the court, we were pleased with their impact as replacements.”