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Wasps Netball looking for back-to-back titles in Lightning Grand Final clash

Wasps Netball star Rachel Dunn says her team’s defence will provide the foundations to defend their league title this weekend.
It will be a re-match of the 2017 Grand Final but unlike last season the black-and-golds come into the clash as the higher seeded team – as Wasps seek back-to-back championships.
Dunn, who starred in the semi-final win against Team Bath, will be playing in her 10th final and is targeting her fourth successive league title.
The veteran attacker, who has enjoyed an 89 per cent shooting percentage this season, believes her team are in the perfect position to defend their title.
“I love the week in the lead up to the Grand Final. It is always a special time and it has been great spending it with this fantastic group,” said Dunn.
“We’ve beaten every team so far this season so we know we can beat anyone. We have put ourselves in the best possible position to defend our title and we are determined to do just that.
“These are the games you play for. We put in all the hard work to finish top of the league and then win our semi-final but we know that anything can happen in the final – as we proved last year.
“We’ve got huge confidence throughout the team and we know our defence will show up when it matters.
“As an attacker, when you know your defensive end is so effective at getting the ball back it gives you great confidence to do your job in attack.”
Lightning came away winners when the teams met at the Ricoh Arena in May but Wasps took victory earlier in the season at Loughborough – leaving the season series level.
Wasps Netball director Tamsin Greenway led her team to 16 wins in the regular season to top the table and finish one place above Lightning.
Greenway – who will be looking to secure her fourth consecutive league title as a coach – is looking forward to the battle between the league’s top two.
“You want to be in this position and be given a chance to defend your title,” she said.
“We have a lot of experience in this squad who know what it takes to win finals, you just have to give it your all.

“It will be good to face Loughborough again, it will be a rematch of last year’s final and we know it will be a real battle.”

rach-dunn

Wasps Netball looking to draw on their experience

Wasps Netball veteran star Rachel Dunn says the team will draw on their experience as they aim to return to winning ways.

The table-toppers will look to bounce back from back-to-back Vitality Netball Superleague defeats with a win against Celtic Dragons on Saturday, June 9, in Cardiff (4pm centre-pass).

Dunn has been ever-present this year alongside George Fisher in attack – but goals have been harder to come by in the last two fixtures, with Wasps scoring nearly 20 below their season average.

The 35-year-old – who made her league debut in 2003 – has won three successive Superleague titles and knows the importance of closing the regular season with winning momentum.

“We haven’t been scoring enough goals. It’s important we remember what we did well at the start of the season and get the momentum back,” she said.

“You don’t suddenly become a bad team overnight. We don’t need to revolutionise everything. Focusing on fixing the small things can make a big difference.

“We’re not happy with how we have performed in these last two games but hopefully it is just a blip.

“We’re not doing the basics well enough. The two losses have been learning games and we need to put things right.

“Our experience will really help now. We’ve got a lot of players who have won leagues before and hopefully we can draw on our experience to put in the performances we need to get back on track.”

Wasps are locked at the top of the Superleague with Loughborough Lightning, with one game in hand over their Midlands-rivals.

Their hosts are bottom of the table and were soundly beat at the Ricoh Arena earlier this season 74-32 – but Dunn says Dragons shouldn’t be underestimated.

“You can’t underestimate any team and there have been plenty of shocks this season,” she added.

“Dragons might not be sitting near the top of the table but it will still be a challenge. We’ve got to go out there and perform.

“There aren’t many teams in any sport that can go unbeaten for a whole season, you have to put it in perspective.

“The way we started the season shows the talent we have in this group but netball is not about individuals it is how you work together as a team.

“We have a few tough games coming up but that’s what you want. You want to be tested and that’s what we need to be at the top of our game and peak at the right time.”

Wasps’ next home fixture sees them face benecosMavericks on Monday, June 18 (7.00pm centre-pass) and tickets are available for www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets

The race to reach the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final is heating up – don’t miss out on the season-ending spectacular and get your tickets now!

Rachel Dunn

Rachel Dunn – Featured Player of the Week

Rachel Dunn is one of the most experienced Superleague players of the bunch, having been an England player since before the inaugural Superleague season.

The shooter debuted for England in 2004 against Australia, the same year as she graduated from the University of Bath with a degree in Biology.

She was also a member of the international sides that won the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medals.

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games was a particularly memorable one for Dunn as the England side returned home with a bronze medal following their nail-biting 53-52 victory over Jamaica in the third-place play-off.

The shooter was one of six Team Bath players to feature in the England squad for the 2006/7 season.

Before the Superleague began, Dunn was a member of Team Bath’s Super Cup squad between 2003 and 2005, including the winning team of 2004.

With the commencement of the Superleague, Dunn then went on to help Team Bath win the inaugural title in 2006.

In 2008, Dunn travelled to New Zealand to play for Canterbury Tactix, replacing pregnant Tactix shooter Jodi Brown.

In 2009, Dunn joined Surrey Storm and has been a firm fixture in the squad ever since. She, alongside her attacking combination of Tamsin Greenway and Pamela Cookey, helped Storm take the Superleague title for the first time in 2015 after coming agonisingly close in previous seasons.

More recently, Dunn won another bronze medal with the England international side at the 2015 World Cup in Sydney, beating Jamaica 66-44 in the bronze medal match.

For the 2016 season, Dunn and recently retired England international Pamela Cookey have reunited to form one of the Superleague’s most formidable strike forces.

Not only is Dunn a Superleague and International netballer – she’s also a genetic scientist and has a stated ambition to win a Nobel Prize!

She’s also finished the regular 2016 season as the winner of the Gilbert Netball Goalden shot competition, having scored an impressive 474 goals.

Rachel Dunn

Storm too strong for Thunder

Tonight’s feature Vitality Netball Superleague match on Sky Sports 2 was the clash between Manchester Thunder and Surrey Storm.

After four quarters of neck and neck play, reigning champions Storm pulled away to become 55-49 winners.

Head over to the Sky Sports Netball site for their match report for this gripping encounter:

http://www.skysports.com/netball/news/12415/10186910/surrey-storm-end-manchester-thunders-unbeaten-record-in-vitality-netball-superleague