Strathclyde Sirens Vs Loughborough Lightning

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Netball Training 20

Wasps look to go nine points clear of fifth

Tamsin Moala says every win is crucial as Wasps Netball look to take a big step towards securing a top-four spot in the Vitality Netball Superleague on Monday night.

The Kiwi shooter, who was born in York, joined Wasps this season and has enjoyed increased court-time in recent fixtures.

Wasps travel to Milton Keynes to take on Saracens Mavericks on Monday 15 April (7pm centre-pass).

The Black and Golds currently sit second in the Vitality Netball Superleague and a win on Monday would see Wasps build a nine-point advantage over fifth-place Mavericks.

Moala, who signed for Wasps from Team Northumbria, has been benefiting from the tutelage of fellow shooters Rachel Dunn and Katie Harris this season.

She enjoyed significant court-time against London Pulse and also played a key role in closing out the win against Team Bath last time out.

Moala said: “We had been working hard on delivering a strong performance for a full 60 minutes, so it was nice to execute that against Bath.

“I think that it was a product of having good training and sticking to the game-plan, which will serve us well in the last few games of the season.

“Every game is important now because it’s so tight in the top four you can’t afford to have an off-night at this stage in the season.

“I’ve had some chances to perform in the last few games and every time I get an opportunity to show what I can do I really appreciate it – because we have such a talented squad here at Wasps.

“I really do feel like I’m learning and developing as a player and you can’t help but improve with players around you like Rachel and Katie.”

With five games left to play in the regular season, the race for a top-four finish is on, and Mavericks will be looking to secure an important three points to keep the pressure on the sides above them.

Mavericks suffered a shock defeat last time out against London Pulse and Moala believes they will be determined to bounce back in this fixture.

“The league is really tight at the moment and there are shock losses every week, we know Mavericks will be looking to come back with a strong performance,” she said.

“On any given night every team in this league has the potential to come away as winners – such is the quality of the competition now. You have to bring your A-game to every game.

“I’m really loving it here at Wasps. The team culture here is really strong and it’s a great set-up to be a part of.

“A win on Monday would of course help us in the push for a top-four finish but every game is important now.

“We have got to stay focused on us and keep doing what we can every week in training to achieve our goals come the end of the season.”

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!

Severn Stars v Thunder 2 - clivejonespr.com

Any team can win on the day, says Stars’ Coach

Severn Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, has acknowledged that her team go into their match against top of the table Manchester Thunder as underdogs, but says any team on its day can triumph.

Her side come to the match at the Belle Vue Sports Village, in Manchester, on Saturday (April 13, 5pm) full of confidence following their first back-to-back wins of the season, against Celtic Dragons and Strathclyde Sirens.

“Manchester Thunder are performing well at the moment and are deservedly at the top of the table,” said Bird.  “We are underdogs for this match but, as we have already seen this season, any team on its day can take the win.  Historically we have always enjoyed our matches against them and we have run them close in previous occasions. We are looking forwards to taking them on at the weekend.”

Though Thunder came away the victors at the match at the University of Worcester Arena in February 49-62 and will be looking for a win to maintain their three point lead over Wasps, Bird said her players have been working hard to finish the last few games of the season on a high.

The training paid off last weekend when they delivered a 49-40 victory over Strathclyde Sirens at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena.  The team maintained a narrow lead throughout the match, then pulled away in the final quarter.  This followed a thrilling win against Celtic Dragons.  Five goals down with the final quarter to go, Stars staged a comeback with a nine goal run unanswered to lead the match at one point by four goals with four minutes to go.  They went on to take the win, 52-53.

“We have had back to back wins ourselves and the players are still keen to push on with stronger performances in the next phase of the season,” added Bird. “We have been focusing on our transition play and capitalising on scoring off ball we win.”

Tickets for the next Stars home game against Team Bath, at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena, on April 20 (6pm), are available at www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleague-severn-stars#bio.

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: Clive Jones

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!

Ella Powell-Davies - clivejonespr.com

Powell-Davies can’t wait to play in front of home crowd

Severn Stars defender Ella Powell-Davies says she cannot wait to play in front of her home crowd during this Saturday’s fixture against Strathclyde Sirens.

The Severn Stars take on Scottish outfit Strathclyde Sirens on Saturday 6 April (6pm centre pass) at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena.

After a final quarter comeback against Celtic Dragons last Saturday (30 March) in Cardiff, Stars will be looking to follow this up with another win against the team who are one place below them in the Vitality Netball Superleague table.

Powell-Davies said: “We had a great comeback against Dragons, showing true grit, and that gives us confidence heading into this weekend as we know we can put out strong performances and we are getting better game by game. We have had a great training week this week looking at how we can improve and keep growing as a team. We are looking to focus on the process and our game plan to put out a strong performance against Sirens.”

Twenty-year-old Ella, who found her love for netball when playing for Chosen Hill School in Churchdown, is looking forward to impressing in her home city of Gloucester. “I love being able to play in Gloucester. My friends and family always come to support me and it really motivates me to want to play better and put out a good performance.”

Powell-Davies, says Severn Stars are a very different team to what they were last year. She added: “The thing I love about Stars is how close we all are as a team. We have progressed so much this year in our performances and we are a hard working group who always want to be better. We are excited for this weekend and I can’t wait to see everyone at the Arena.”

Severn Stars have also taken steps to bolster their squad by signing former England Rose, Leah Kennedy. With Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Jodie Gibson still out of action following a knee operation earlier this year, the coaches were keen to bring in the services of Kennedy who has previously played Superleague Netball for Strathclyde Sirens and Team Northumbria. Twenty-six-year-old Kennedy, who plays GD/GK, played for the England Roses in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Fast5 England Squad in 2016, before taking a year out due to a shoulder injury.

Newcastle-based Kennedy said: “I am so excited to be part of the Severn Stars squad. The buzz around the Stars this season and the setup is something I can’t wait to be involved in.  I’m very lucky that I know quite a few of the players from my time with Roses.  I played with Sam [Cook] in the circle when I made my England debut.  Also I am very excited to be back in a team with George [Georgia Rowe], from when she played with me at Team Northumbria for a season a few years ago.  It’s great to see how she has grown at Stars and I can’t wait to catch up with her and the rest of the squad.”

Addressing the upcoming match, she added: “Most of the Sirens squad haven’t changed since last season and so I reckon I can bring my experience of training weekly with the girls and knowing how to counteract what they do.”

Tickets for the Severn Stars home games can be purchased via www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleague-severn-stars#bio

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!

Image credit: clivejonespr.com