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Wasps out to secure top-four finish

Wasps Netball are looking to secure a top-four finish this Easter weekend in a Vitality Netball Superleague double-header at Ricoh Arena.

The Black and Golds are currently in second position in the table and trail league leaders Manchester Thunder on goal difference.

Mel Mansfield’s side face Surrey Storm on Saturday 20 April (5pm centre-pass) and challenge Celtic Dragons the following day (2pm centre-pass) – with both games taking place at Ricoh Arena.

The fixtures form part of the bumper Big Easter Weekend in Coventry, which will see six teams compete in five matches across the weekend.

Head Coach Mansfield says her team come into the weekend in fine form and in the perfect position with four games remaining in the regular season.

“We’re in a really good position and it’s in our hands,” said Mansfield.

“To go into Easter weekend joint-top, with two goals separating us from the league leaders, you can’t ask for more than that.

“The win against Saracens Mavericks on Monday was huge. Beating Team Bath prior to that was vital too. We have played some brilliant netball recently and the team are very confident right now.

“Now we’re looking to keep that momentum going. Our performances have been by no means perfect, and it’s up to us to fix that in training so we are at our best come the semi-finals.”

This weekend will be the only occasion this season that Wasps have played Superleague fixtures on consecutive days.

The two matches will mark the final regular season games of the campaign at Ricoh Arena for Wasps.

Mansfield is looking forward to the challenge and says it will give her players a chance to spend time with each other away from the court.

She said: “It’s a great opportunity for us to have some social time together in Coventry.

“One of the reasons why this group has seen success in the last couple of years is that they all enjoy each other’s company – which contributes to a strong team culture.

“We’ve got great strength in depth in our squad and that is a big bonus for us this weekend. It allows us to use that depth to give players adequate rest and recovery.

“We’re well aware that facing Surrey Storm and Celtic Dragons will be tough fixtures as we look to secure that top-four spot.

“Storm come into the weekend in good form and Dragons are coming off a win too. They will both throw everything at us and we have to be ready for that.”

Saracens Mavericks and Celtic Dragons will feature in the second match on Saturday, with Surrey Storm v Severn Stars and Team Bath v Saracens Mavericks completing the schedule on Sunday.

Tickets are available for the Big Easter Weekend at Ricoh Arena from www.ticket.englandnetball.co.uk

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Wasps Netball determined to get back on track

Mel Mansfield says her Wasps Netball squad are determined to get back on track after a dramatic loss in the final seconds last time out.

The Black and Golds suffered their second defeat in three games against Loughborough Lightning on Monday night, which saw them knocked off the top of the table for the first time this season.

Mansfield’s side will now travel to the new league-leaders Manchester Thunder on Saturday 23 March (5pm centre-pass).

It will be the second occasion that the two sides have faced off this month, after Thunder handed Wasps their first loss of the season when they met at Ricoh Arena two weeks ago.

The race for a top-four finish is heating up in the Vitality Netball Superleague, with six points separating first from fifth position.

Mansfield says the team know why they fell short against Loughborough and are working hard in training to right those wrongs, as they go in search of a third successive Superleague title.

She said: “We weren’t good enough against Lightning on Monday night and we know exactly where we need to improve.

“It’s important you know what you do right when you win and what you do wrong when you lose.

“The players are determined to put it right and we’ve seen a very positive response in training this week.

“This is all part of the journey, every season has its ups and downs, and it’s all about how you respond.

“Nothing has changed in terms of our goal at the start of the season and that is to secure a top-four finish.”

Thunder came away 64-55 victors when they faced Wasps in the reverse fixture and are now on a three-game winning streak coming into Round 11 of Superleague action.

Mansfield added: “It hasn’t been long since we last played Thunder and that last match is still fresh in our minds.

“They are one of the in-form teams in the league right now and we will be up for the challenge.

“Every game is important and the big games keep coming at this stage of the season.

“We have made too many errors in the last couple of weeks, and that has been our downfall. We need to iron those out.

“This is a team game and we have all taken responsibility for the loss on Monday against Loughborough.

“We are still joint-top of the league on points and there is a lot of netball left to play this season. We need to improve from our last few performances but I’m confident this group can do that.”

Wasps Netball’s next home fixture sees them face London Pulse on Sunday 31 March at Ricoh Arena. For tickets and more information 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!

Mel Mansfield leads huddle

Wasps Netball preparing for Saracens Mavericks test

Wasps Netball’s Mel Mansfield believes her team are set for their biggest test so far when they face Saracens Mavericks.

Two-time champions Wasps have opened their Vitality Netball Superleague season with three successive victories – and are still yet to play at their home venue.

Wasps will take on Mavericks in their first game at Ricoh Arena this year on Monday 11 February (7pm centre-pass).

It will mark the first time that the iconic names of Wasps and Saracens have met away from the rugby pitch.

Saracens Rugby bought a 50 per cent stake in the Hertfordshire-based team earlier this year.

Wasps Netball Head Coach Mansfield says confidence is high in the squad following the impressive win last time out against Surrey Storm but they are aware of the major threat posed by Mavericks.

She said: “The players are feeling really good after the win against Storm, our error count was right down and we showed great character to come away winners in that fixture.

“What we’re seeing this year already is that you can’t afford to have an off-day in this league and the reality is that to beat Mavericks we have to be at our best.

“We might have won three games, but we know there is a lot to work on too. We need to tidy up our play and be more clinical in key situations.

“When we get an opportunity to press on, we need to take it.”

Mavericks have enjoyed a successful start to the season with their only loss coming on the opening day against undefeated Manchester Thunder.

Wasps are the only other team remaining with an unbeaten record in the Superleague.

A wealth of talent will be on court on Monday night, including seven England Roses, and Mansfield has been preparing her side to counteract the Mavericks stars.

“Mavericks have got four England players and have one of the strongest squads in the league,” said Mansfield.

“But we know we have a very strong squad too and we will be looking for match-ups that help us combat their strengths.

“It’s been a long time since we played at Ricoh Arena and we can’t wait to be back in front of our home fans. With so many top players on display across both teams it should be a fantastic showcase of netball.”

Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Saracens Mavericks on Monday 11 February are available from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets.

Tickets are also 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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Mansfield previews Wasps’ season opener

Wasps Netball’s Mel Mansfield believes the Vitality Netball Superleague will be stronger this season – but is confident her side will be up to the challenge.
The two-time league winners begin their 2019 campaign against Loughborough Lightning on Saturday 5 January (centre-pass 1pm).
The fixture is part of Super 10 and will see all ten Vitality Netball Superleague teams compete on the same day at Arena Birmingham.
It will mark the start of Wasps’ quest to win an unheralded third successive league title, and if successful, would become the first team in league history to do so.
Mansfield will be entering her first season as a Vitality Netball Superleague Head Coach following two seasons as Assistant Coach to Tamsin Greenway.
She says that her team are focusing on improving every day but the initial target has to be a top-four finish.
“The first title was a sweet victory, in year two the pressure was off a bit but at the moment we’re not thinking about a third title,” said Mansfield.
“We are seeing consistent improvements in training and in the last few sessions you can really see connections developing with our new players.
“The league has seen some great players arrive and it will be a challenge, but we know that when we are at our best we will be a quality side.
“We’re really excited about our new goal attacks Tamsin Moala, Katie Harris and Chloe Essam. They all have the ability to challenge for a spot in our starting seven.
“The first challenge is to reach the play-off semi-final. Of course we want to win that third title, but we have got to put in the hard work to get there.”
When Wasps meet Lightning it will be a rematch of last season’s Grand Final and will see the two teams meet at Arena Birmingham for the second time.
The two sides’ first clash at the venue came in the 2017 Grand Final, with Wasps winning 55-51 and taking home the Vitality Netball Superleague trophy, with history repeating itself the following year at London’s Copper Box Arena.
Lightning recently appointed former England international Sara Bayman as Director of Netball.
Mansfield believes Loughborough will be a force once again this season, despite changes in their playing and coaching personnel.
“Of course they’re going to be good, they always are. Sara will no doubt get her team playing some great netball,” she said.
“We’ve had back-to-back finals against Lightning, and now we’re playing them in our first fixture. It’s a very exciting fixture, a good opening test for us and I’m sure it will be a crowd pleaser.
“We always love Super 10, it’s a great showcase of the Vitality Netball Superleague and we’re looking forward to getting out there on the court.”