Strathclyde Sirens Vs Loughborough Lightning

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Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning, 

Friday, 12, April, 2019 - Team Bath Arena - Bath - United Kingdom
Mandatory Photo Credit: Bob Bradford

Team Bath come from seven goals down to stun Lightning

Team Bath Netball overturned a seven-goal deficit and then held off a last-quarter comeback as they defeated top-four rivals Loughborough Lightning 57-55 in a sensational 2019 Vitality Superleague showdown that fully lived up to its pre-match billing.

The battle between third and fourth place promised to be an epic encounter and it was all that and more as another four-figure crowd at the Team Bath Arena was treated to a spectacle high on quality, drama and tension.

There was nothing to separate the teams in the first quarter but a seven-goal burst during the second period gave Lightning the initiative, only for the Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold to rally superbly.

They closed the gap to three at half-time before a magnificent team performance in the third-quarter, which they won 21-11, put Team Bath into a seemingly comfortable 49-42 lead.

Lightning had other ideas, though, and managed to draw level midway through a breathless final quarter but Team Bath dug deep, held their nerve and managed to wrap up three vital points in the race for the semi-finals.

Head Superleague coach Anna Stembridge said: “It was a brilliant game, we knew it was going to be an awesome spectacle. We know that Lightning have the attacking power to build a lead and kill the game but I was really proud of the way we stuck to the task and showed such grit and character.

“We got over the line, we got the points and we have learnt a lot from that game and that performance.”

Defender Summer Artman, who was Genuine Car Services Player of the Match for a second successive home game, added: “As a team we are finding different ways to win, so we’ll take coming back from a seven-goal deficit.

“We could feel the pressure on the court but the crowd really helped us, they fully got behind us and it feels really good to have got the win.”

Both teams went into the match on the back of their first defeats in more than a month and were clearly determined to make quick amends.

A high-quality first period saw Team Bath got off to a confident start as they turned over Lightning’s centre-pass and took a lead that they held until the closing stages of the quarter.

The Blue & Gold were pinging the ball around the court quickly, while Kim Commane and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis combined excellent movement with clinical finishing as the hosts edged into an 11-7 lead with five minutes of the quarter to go.

Artman and Eboni Usoro-Brown were applying excellent defensive pressure at the other end but Ella Clark and imposing shooter Mary Cholhok began to work some space and, as Lightning forced turnovers, the visitors were able to claw back Team Bath’s lead.

They edged ahead for the first time in the closing stages but a fine finish from Drakeford-Lewis on the buzzer ensured a hard-fought first quarter finished all square at 14-14.

The early stages of the second quarter continued to be evenly matched but a seven-goal blitz from the ruthless Cholhok saw Lightning take a stranglehold on the game.

The atmosphere was tense in the Team Bath Arena but the home side kept battling away and, with the crowd fired up by two superb interceptions by Usoro-Brown and Artman, they began to work their way back into the game.

With Commane providing some fine finishes, Team Bath cut the lead to two before a late goal from Clark ensured Lightning held a 38-21 advantage at the break.

There was a blow for Team Bath in the opening minute of the third quarter as Drakeford-Lewis took a knock and limped off the court but replacement Laura Rudland immediately settled into the rapid pace of the game as she set up Commane for two quick-fire goals.

She was also on target twice herself in succession as Team Bath closed to within one goal and, after a phenomenal interception from Serena Guthrie, Rudland scored again to level at 34-34 before putting the hosts ahead for the first time since quarter one.

Another Commane double quickly stretched the lead out to three goals and, while Lightning managed to stay in touch, the wind was now very much in Team Bath’s sails.

Imogen Allison and Guthrie were dominating the mid-court, forcing a number of turnovers and helping Artman and Usoro-Brown lessen the influence of Lightning’s previously influential attackers.

Rachel Shaw, Rudland and Commane were also fluid in attack as Team Bath went on to win the quarter 21-11 and turn a three-goal deficit at half-time into an emphatic 49-42 advantage.

Lightning made some attacking changes for the final 15 miites, with Amy Clinton replacing Cholhok at GS and former Team Bath player Jess Shaw – who had come on late in the third period – continuing at C.

It had a massive impact as the visitors produced another brilliant seven-goal burst to draw level at 51-51 midway through an increasingly nervy final period.

The game remained in the balance right up until the last couple of minutes before, with Drakeford-Lewis back on at GA, Team Bath finally managed to put together three goals in a row to finally kill off Lightning’s challenge.

Next up for Team Bath is a busy Easter weekend which sees them visit South West rivals on Saturday, April 20 (6pm) before taking on fellow semi-final contenders Saracens Mavericks during Super 6 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Sunday, April 21 (6pm).

Tickets for both the Mavericks game and Team Bath’s final home match of the regular season – against newcomers London Pulse on Saturday, May 4 (6pm) – are on sale now at netball.teambath.com/fixtures.

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

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

Photo credit: Bob Bradford Images

TeamBath Netball 2018 - Bailbrook House 
07/12/18
www.claregreenphotography.com

Team Bath Netball determined to bounce back quickly

Team Bath Netball will be looking to take inspiration from one of their best performances of the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season so far when they take on top-four rivals Loughborough Lightning in a crunch home match on Friday (7.30pm centre-pass).

The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold produced an eye-catching display to convincingly win the reverse fixture back in February. Since then both Team Bath and Lightning have enjoyed excellent winning runs – of six and seven games respectively – to put themselves firmly in contention for a coveted semi-final spot as they sit third and fourth respectively, level on 27 points.

Those runs come to an end this week, with Team Bath going down 61-46 at reigning champions Wasps on Saturday and Lightning losing 63-59 at home to Surrey Storm on Monday, but Blue & Gold Head Superleague Coach Anna Stembridge is expecting a cracking contest on Friday as both teams seek an instant response.

“It obviously wasn’t the result we were looking for at Wasps but I am confident the team will bounce back accordingly and apply themselves in training this week to put things right,” she said.

“Historically it has always been a great game against Lightning. We had a really good performance against them in the reverse fixture, one of our best this season, but we are very aware of the form and results they have achieved recently so we are expecting a great display of netball between us.

“We have a really exciting final month of the Superleague season coming up with five massive matches. I say all the time that any result is possible in this league and we saw it again at the weekend as London Pulse beat Saracens Mavericks so it doesn’t matter who you face, you really can’t take anything for granted.

“No team has an easy run-in and I wouldn’t want one either, you want to earn your place in the top four.”

Team Bath remain three points clear of fifth-placed Mavericks despite their setback against second-placed Wasps, who opened up a 16-10 lead at the end of Saturday’s first quarter and were able to build on that throughout despite a tireless effort from the visitors.

“For me, the game was won and lost in the first quarter when Wasps had quite a long run of uninterrupted scoring,” said Stembridge. “They were able to establish a six-goal lead and it set the tone for the game overall.

“We tried various combinations to see if we could disrupt their flow but Wasps were more clinical than in recent weeks and we were unable to force the defensive turnovers that have been a key part of our game this season.

“There were many positives to take, though. Imogen Allison and Serena Guthrie have really established themselves as a great mid-court unit and they stuck to their task well, while Sophie Drakeford-Lewis worked tremendously hard once again in both attack and defence.”

Team Bath will be cheered on by another four-figure crowd against Lightning but more tickets have been made available for Friday’s big game – visit netball.teambath.com/fixtures to purchase for both that match and the finale of the regular season against London Pulse on Saturday, May 4 (6pm centre-pass).

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!

BATH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Mikki Austin of Surrey Storm gives a team talk after the Vitality Netball Superleague match between Team Bath and Surrey Storm at the University of Bath on January 28, 2019 in Bath, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images for England Netball)

Storm end Lightning’s winning streak

Storm ended Lightning’s seven-game winning run in spectacular style with perhaps their best performance of the season.

Only in the third quarter did Storm appear in danger of losing their lead, but a fourth quarter resurgence – inspired by the return from injury of Director of Netball, Mikki Austin – saw them close out a vital victory.

Sigi Burger inevitably took most of the plaudits, shooting at over 90% to inspire Storm to a precious early advantage, but this was a fantastic team performance, full of energy, vitality and commitment built on a bedrock of brilliant defending.

Burger was 100% throughout Q1 as Storm hit their assured stride to implement Austin’s high-intensity gameplan. A seven-goal lead at the first break soon doubled to 14 halfway through the second quarter as Burger’s height and movement continued to allow her to dominate the Lightning defence.

Thereafter, though, Lightning began their comeback. As Reah Dixon replaced Yasmine Hodge-England at GA, Storm held out for a 10-goal lead at half-time. That was maintained at the start of Q3 but Lightning’s own defence, led by Vicky Oyesola, soon began to exert greater influence.

Mikki’s return at Centre, in place of Emily Gulvin, went some way to steadying the visitors’ ship but Storm’s lead was down to three at the end of Q3. Yet maintaining an advantage, however slender, would prove crucial in the final reckoning.

It was stretched back to seven early in Q4 as Storm re-asserted themselves, but Lightning were proving a hard habit to break. Yet even some particularly physical defending failed to stifle Burger’s prolific form and Storm still led by five with three minutes left.

Only then did Lightning finally sense that this would be their first defeat in two months; one which Storm’s all-round team play ensured was a deserved one.

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

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

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Thunder, Lightning and Bath qualify for British Fast5 All-Stars

Manchester Thunder, Loughborough Lightning and Team Bath have all sealed their place at the 2019 British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship to join defending champions Wasps Netball at the Copper Box Arena, London on Saturday, October 12.

Four more teams will join the quartet in the £100,000 tournament, which returns for its third year in the autumn and will feature the top eight teams from the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague.

Superleague leaders Thunder defeated Strathclyde Sirens on Monday evening to ensure they cannot be edged out of the top eight this season. That win also meant qualification for Team Bath, while Loughborough Lightning beat Saracens Mavericks to guarantee a top-eight finish.

Mavericks themselves are just one win away from qualifying and will be confirmed for the Fast5 All-Stars should the beat London Pulse on Saturday.

Featuring 12-minute matches, an all-star 5-point line and a Golden Buzzer Power Play, the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship is an all-action afternoon of non-stop, pulsating netball.

Don’t miss out and get your tickets for the 2019 British Fast5 All-Stars Championship now!

The 2019 British Fast5 All-Stars Championship will take place 1-6pm on Saturday, October 12 at Copper Box Arena, London.