Strathclyde Sirens Vs Loughborough Lightning

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Storm vs Pulse - Steve Porter

Surrey Storm edge out London Pulse

Surrey Storm edged a tight, tension-filled game at the Sports Park arena to record a second vital victory of the week.

The lead changed hands several times throughout an enthralling 60 minutes but a resurgent Storm finally came out on top for a win which Mikki Austin declared perhaps more impressive than Monday’s win against Lightning.

Storm raced into an early 10-6 lead but seemingly within seconds Pulse had reduced that to one goal and thus it remained. Storm led 17-15 at the end of Q1 but steadily the visitors wrestled back control through Q2. They edged in front for the first time midway through the second period but the introduction of Rhea Dixon at GA helped to redress the balance somewhat.

Pulse led by three at half-time but that only spurred Storm into a comeback of their own. Within five minutes of the restart they had turned a three-goal deficit into a five-goal lead as Pulse managed to add just one to their total.

Grierson replaced Wells in attack for Pulse and they clawed their way back into the game to give Storm just a one-goal lead at the end of Q3. Then it was Pulse’s turn to force their way in front going into the final ten minutes but steadily Storm rose for one final time.

Mikki Austin’s bullet pass fed Burger to put Storm in front, 54-53, with two-and-a-half-minutes remaining and excellent game management allowed the hosts to see out the closing stages with a degree of control. Appropriately, it was Burger who netted the final goal to send Storm into next weekend’s Big Easter double-header with huge confidence.

Tickets are still available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Big Easter Weekend!

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Image credit: Steve Porter

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Wasps return to winning ways against Pulse

Wasps Netball returned to winning ways with a convincing 67-35 triumph over London Pulse at Ricoh Arena on Sunday.

Mel Mansfield’s side were on top throughout the match and pressed their advantage in the third-quarter to pull away from the visitors.

The win sees Wasps move back to the top of the Vitality Netball Superleague – with Manchester Thunder playing their game in hand against Strathclyde Sirens on Monday.

Mansfield said: “It was a good win for us, this game was all about getting some belief back in the team.

“I was delighted that they pushed on and won by a big margin. It wasn’t the finished article but we’ve got a lot of rounds to go yet to perfect our play.

“It was really important we didn’t have any lapses of concentration, we kept the foot on the pedal throughout and overall I’m really pleased with the performance.

“We know our players really well. It was a great opportunity to give Tamsin Moala some exposure today and she made a great impact.

“Next up for us is Team Bath which is a huge game and we’ll be working hard in training to make sure we are ready for the test.”

Wasps started the match in attacking free-flow, scoring with ease through Rachel Dunn on their first possession.

But Pulse impressed in the opening five minutes to keep pace with the home side, going goal-for-goal.

The London side forced the first turnover and stretched out to a two-goal lead, but Wasps came straight back with their own interception and were soon back level.

Wasps started to assert control, stretching their lead at the end of the quarter to six, with Fran Williams and Hannah Knights impressing at the defensive end to break up play.

Moala entered the action for the second-quarter and immediately found her shooting rhythm, scoring two back-to-back goals.

Dunn and Moala continued to impress as a shooting duo, with Bongi Msomi and Jade Clarke working tirelessly to create goalscoring opportunities.

Wasps stretched out to a double-figure lead but Pulse were able to slow down the hosts’ attack and limit the deficit to 11 at half-time.

The Black and Golds’ defence made an impact to start the second-half, with Amy Flanagan and Knights on hand to win possession back for their side.

Clarke exerted her influence throughout the third-quarter, providing successive long out-balls and proving a key link between defence and attack.

Wasps maintained their high intensity and led by 19 goals going into the final 15 minutes.

The home side remained composed during the fourth-quarter, consistently finding Dunn in space and stretching their advantage.

Loreen Ngwira was sent off with three minutes to go, reducing Pulse to six players, following persistent fouling on Dunn.

Bethany Dix entered the court for her Wasps Superleague debut as the clock ran down – and was met with a standing ovation from the Black and Gold supporters.

Wasps kept their foot on the pedal until the final whistle to secure a 32-goal margin victory to return to winning ways.

Wasps Netball’s next fixture will see them take on Team Bath at Ricoh Arena on Saturday 6 April (5pm centre-pass).

Tickets are now available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final!

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Photo credit: Clive Jones

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Wasps Netball have learned from losses says star Jade Clarke

Wasps Netball’s Jade Clarke says the last two weeks have been a learning period and the experience will benefit the reigning champions later in the season.

The Black and Golds will host London Pulse on Mother’s Day at Ricoh Arena (4pm centre-pass) – as the reigning champions look to get back to winning ways after consecutive losses by a one-goal margin.

Wasps currently sit in third position in the Vitality Netball Superleague, with league-leaders Manchester Thunder holding a three point advantage.

The battle for a top four spot is in full effect with Saracens Mavericks, Wasps, Team Bath and Loughborough Lightning all locked on 24 points.

Clarke, who has featured in every fixture so far this season for Wasps, said: “It has been a tough learning period for us but it is all part of the season journey.

“I don’t think that any season ever runs perfectly smoothly but we’ve got a squad full of really strong characters and we’re determined to learn from the recent losses.

“We shouldn’t forget the positives and how well we have been playing for large parts of the last few games – we have actually played some of our best netball.

“I love these exciting games and now we’re working hard on how we can close them out under pressure.

“We are looking at each game and seeing what we need to improve – everyone is raring to go on Sunday.

“The goal remains to make it into the play-offs and then you’ve got yourself in the mix for the title.”

London Pulse come into the fixture bottom of the table and without a win since the first round of games.

Wasps came out on top when the two sides last met, winning 61-50 back in round three at the Copper Box Arena – but the Black and Golds did trail early after a fast start from the London-based side.

Clarke added: “It will be really nice to be back in-front of our home crowd. We haven’t played Pulse since round two. They have been pushing teams all season and it will be a good test for us back at home.

“This season’s Superleague is the most competitive I’ve seen it in my career. Any team can beat the other on the day and you have to be at the best.

“Having this kind of competition in the league is perfect in the lead up to the Netball World Cup later this year in Liverpool. Our league is so strong at the moment and every game is played at high intensity.

“I’m sure it will be an exciting game against Pulse and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

For tickets to Wasps Netball v London Pulse at Ricoh Arena on Sunday 31 March go to www.waspsnetball.co.uk

Tickets are now available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final!

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

Dragons v pulse

First home win for Dragons

It was a frantic and scrappy first quarter for both sides at the Sport Wales National Centre as Celtic Dragons took on London Pulse in Round 11.

Dragons, looking to pick up their first home win of 2019 were aiming to replicate their 40 – 67 win at the Copperbox earlier in the season. They started positively, turning over Pulse’s first centre pass and building a solid lead. Dragons were able to force turnovers and extend their first-quarter lead. There was drama as the visitor’s Fionnuala Toner took a crashing fall as she made contact with Stacian Facey but was unscathed.

There was a step change in the second period as Dragons settled down and became the more clinical of the two sides. However, a few flat spots and the visitors were able to creep back into the match, thanks in large part to the vision of the excellent Bea Skingsley. Dragons took their chances well, but Pulse’s Shantal Slater was able to hit the target with far more consistency and this helped them take the quarter by two and set up an intriguing second half.

The match tightened up as the third quarter got underway. Both sides were tidier off their centre pass and this gave Chelsea Lewis the platform she needed to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Bethan Dyke continued to build on her seasonal re-appearance at wing attack with a solid performance off the bench. Pulse took advantage of some of Dragons’ errors but it was the home team that finished with a flourish, scoring 5 unanswered goals in the final couple of minutes.

In the final period, Dragons were able to turn on the flair and they started to pull away from the visiting side. Late in the game, Stacian picked up a suspension leaving Abby Tyrrell to keep the goal. this allowed Pulse back into the game but it was too late and Dragons took their first home win of the season.

Dragons now face a short turnaround to their next home game: a Round 12 encounter with Severn Stars at 4pm on Saturday 30 March.

Player of the Match: Chelsea Lewis

Celtic Dragons: C Lewis, K McCollin, S Drane, K Jones, N Jones (Capt), D Bolakoro and S Facey. Replacements: B Dyke, A Tyrrell, L Herdman, L Howells and E Nawele.

London Pulse: S Slater, A Neal, R Long, F Toner (Capt), T Cullen, B Skingsley and L Ngwira. Replacements: H de Winton, B Grierson, J Odeogberin, C Semple and O Tchine

13-06 (13-06); 13-15 (26-21); 18-14 (44-35) 18-16 (62-51)