Wasps Netball continued their 100 per cent winning record for the season with a 58-46 win against a resilient Celtic Dragons side in Cardiff.
The Black and Golds are now the only team remaining with a perfect record in the Vitality Netball Superleague this season, after securing five successive victories.
Mel Mansfield’s team controlled the game from the second-quarter to the final whistle – after being matched by their hosts for the first 15 minutes.
Mansfield said: “This was a big three points tonight and to not lose a single quarter was really pleasing.
“It was a physical game but the second-half is always strong for us and we were able to make some changes to give our players a rest ahead of Friday’s trip to Bath.
“We managed to get all of our squad out on the court tonight and it was fantastic to see Chloe Essam out there and get the chance to show the talent she has.
“There is a great vibe in this team at the moment. The strength of this team is the depth of our squad, so I think we’re using that strength brilliantly.”
The game saw a composed start for both sides, with six goals scored with no turnovers.
It was Wasps who made the first mistake. Dragons Wing Defence Nia Jones picked off a pass and sparked a run to give the home side a three-goal lead.
Dragons were unlucky not to have the lead at the close of the third-quarter, as the visitors fought back with a string of impressive goals from Katie Harris to bring her side level.
South Africa captain Bongi Msomi exerted her influence early in the second-quarter, feeding the shooting circle well and unlocking the opposition’s defence.
Wasps’ defence then clicked into action by forcing a couple of turnovers, including a well-timed interception by Fran Wiliams to push out to a four-goal advantage.
Dragons turned to aggressive defensive play in an attempt to reduce the deficit, but the Black and Golds played around the pressure and led by seven at half-time.
Mansfield made three changes at the break and Josie Huckle made an immediate impact, disrupting the home side’s shooters.
Sophia Candappa picked up where she left off with her Player of the Match performance in the last fixture and linked up well with Rachel Dunn to bring Wasps’ lead to double-figures.
Dragons were unable to convert a series of goal-scoring chances and the visitors pressed their advantage, with talented Goal Attack Chloe Essam impressing with two quickfire goals shortly after coming on.
Mansfield again shuffled her pack for the final-quarter, with Msomi and Williams re-joining the action.
The home side rallied and looked to claw into the Wasps 12-goal lead, with Nia Jones in the thick of the action for the hosts.
But Wasps were too strong, with Tamsin Moala also featuring in the fourth-quarter, and pushed to a 12-goal win.
Wasps Netball’s next fixture will see them face Team Bath at Sport Training Village – Bath University on Friday 22 February (7.30pm centre-pass).
Wasps starting seven: GK Hannah Knights; GD Fran Williams; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Bongi Msomi; GA Katie Harris; GS Rachel Dunn
Used substitutes: Sophia Candappa (WA), Sam May (WD), Josie Huckle (GK), Chloe Essam (GA); Tamsin Moala (GS)
Dragons starting seven: GK Stacian Facey; GD Dee Bolakaro; WD Nia Jones; C Kyra Jones; WA Suzy Drane; GA Kalifa McCollin ; GS Chelsea Lewis
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