Strathclyde Sirens Vs Severn Stars

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Team Bath vow to learn lessons from Storm defeat

There was disappointment for Team Bath Netball in their first home match of the 2019 Vitality Superleague season as they were beaten 56-50 by Surrey Storm on Monday.

The Blue & Gold had gone into the televised game on the back of two away wins but struggled to find their rhythm against a well-drilled Storm side who were more clinical going forward and deservedly recorded their first victory of the season.

Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach Anna Stembridge said: “We knew Storm would provide a tough test and for me I don’t think we physically manned up to the challenge well enough. We got a bit clunky at times taking the ball through to goal but credit to Storm for doing their homework and putting us under pressure.

“At times we put their attack under pressure and got clean turnover but we didn’t capitalise on it and we definitely were not at our best. We’ll make sure we take the lessons from this into Friday’s game against Severn Stars.”

Player of the Match Rachel Shaw added: “I think the problems started in the first quarter when we gave the ball away a few times and gave Storm confidence but there were still plenty of positives to take out of the game and we’ll look to bounce back quickly.”

England international Eboni Usoro-Brown was ruled out of the match, which was sponsored by King Edward’s School, as a precaution after picking up a knock during the recent Quad Series.

That meant University of Bath student Chartie Curtis started at GD, as she had in the last match at Strathclyde Sirens, and she did well alongside Summer Artman during a first quarter that saw momentum ebb and flow as both teams forced a number of turnovers and errors.

Team Bath raced into a 3-0 lead, then found themselves 8-6 down before regaining the initiative to draw level at 10-10. A late push saw the hosts restore their three-goal advantage but a goal on the buzzer from Sigi Burger cut the Blue and Gold’s quarter lead to 14-12.

It continued to be nip and tuck in the second period as the teams traded goals but also missed chances. Storm eventually began to find more composure in attack and when they edged into the lead, Team Bath made a change as Beryl Friday replaced fellow Australian Kim Commane at goal-shooter.

She quickly found her feet, converting her first three shots, but South African shooter Burger – who linked brilliantly with Rhea Dixon – was equally ruthless at the other end as Storm opened up a 28-26 lead at half-time.

It was the first quarter that Team Bath had lost this season and they made further changes at the interval, sending on U21 captain Abi Robson at WD and Laura Rudland at GA, but it was Storm who made the brighter start to the third period as they doubled their advantage to four goals.

The 800-strong home crowd turned up the volume in a bid to inspire their team but the Blue & Gold were struggling to find any rhythm and a slicker Storm side took full advantage to move 38-31 ahead.

Another switch saw Mia Ritchie come on at centre and captain Serena Guthrie move to WD but while a brief rally saw Team Bath close the gap to five, the hosts were not firing on all cylinders and Storm went into the final quarter with a healthy 43-37 lead.

Sophie Drakeford-Lewis returned to GA for a last 15 minutes that saw the home side go all out to claw their way back into the game. Some good interceptions had the crowd on their feet and the lead was quickly cut to four but, try as they might, Team Bath couldn’t get any closer as Storm saw out a well-deserved first victory of the 2019 season.

The Blue & Gold are back in action this Friday (February 1) when they play host to West Country rivals Severn Stars. Centre-pass is 7.30pm and remaining tickets are available at netball.teambath.com/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!

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Jade Clarke of Wasps celebrates the teams win with team mate during the match between Wasps and Loughborough Lightning during the Vitality Netball Superleague Super 10 at Arena Birmingham on January 5, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for England Netball)

Wasps Netball overcome battling London Pulse

Wasps Netball celebrated Rachel Dunn’s 200th Vitality Netball Superleague appearance with a 61-50 win against London Pulse.

Mel Mansfield’s team trailed early but fought back and pulled away from their hosts in the third-quarter, securing back-to-back victories to start their 2019 campaign.

The fixture marked the first time Wasps and Pulse had faced each other in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

Mansfield said: “We knew Pulse were going to come at us today after their last loss and we were ready for that.

“I was really impressed with how we came back to win the second-quarter after losing the first.

“We had to make some changes at half-time to combat their incredibly accurate shooting circle and I thought we really improved there throughout the second half.

“Rachel Dunn was as steady as anything on her 200th game and it was great to see Bongi Msomi back out there in Wasps colours too.

“We made a lot of errors today and I think we need to consider about how and where we can win the ball back. That will be our focus in training ahead of playing Surrey Storm next weekend.”

Dunn opened the scoring for Wasps with the first goal of the game but both teams were in offensive rhythm throughout the opening stages, trading goal-for-goal.

Msomi, making her first appearance of the season, starred throughout the first quarter and showed why Wasps had brought her back following a season away from the team.

The South Africa captain consistently found pockets of space on the court and fed the ball to Dunn in the attacking circle.

But Pulse showed defensive resolve, with goal keeper Honor De Winton impressing and troubling the visiting shooters.

The home side found consistent success with long balls to rangy goal shooter Shantal Slater and led by two goals at the end of the first quarter.

Katie Harris starred to pull Wasps back level within minutes of the restart, backed up by a series of impressive defensive plays from Hannah Knights and Fran Williams.

Wasps took advantage of successive loose passes from Pulse to lead by three goals at half-time, with Dunn’s battle with England teammate Ama Agbeze taking centre stage.

Mansfield introduced the experienced trio of Josie Huckle, Sophia Candappa and Sam May after the break – with May and Huckle immediately disrupting shooters in the defensive circle.

The Black and Golds found their rhythm quickly in the third period, benefiting from the home side’s misplaced passes to stretch their lead to six.

Harris and Dunn combined well as Wasps took control of the game, building a double-digit advantage going into the final quarter.

Pulse rallied early in the final quarter but Dunn continued to improve her tally to keep her side in the lead.

Chloe Essam was given her Black and Gold Superleague debut in the closing stages, as Wasps secured a 61-50 victory.

Wasps Netball season tickets and general match tickets are now on sale. For more information go to www.waspsnetball.co.uk

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!

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Activity during the Vitality Netball Superleague Super 10 at Arena Birmingham on January 5, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for England Netball)

Dominant Thunder outplay Sirens

Manchester Thunder were dominant from the first whistle as they flew straight out of the blocks in the first quarter, taking the lead from an early stage.  They displayed control and speed under persistent pressure from Sirens who looked confident in attack with Cat Tuivaiti at the helm.

Thunder demonstrated composure from the first quarter, Caroline O’Hanlon and Laura Malcolm showcasing some first-rate combinations.  The two fed the shooters well throughout and O’Hanlon was, unsurprisingly, dubbed Player of the Match by Tracey Neville, who was in attendance at Belle Vue.

Sirens struggled to get into the game during the first half and, despite the efforts of Gia Abernethy and Claire Maxwell, they were unable to find an opening to release Cat Tuivaiti.

Sirens scrambled and there were moments of brilliance from Tuivaiti, much to the delight of the crowd.  Including one spectacular ‘over the head’ pass, her trademark trick since Super 10.

Despite the fact that Thunder have had to wait three weeks since their last outing, there were no signs of rust and the Black and Yellows established a solid lead in the second half.

Ellie Cardwell enjoyed a spell at GA as well as GS, impressing during her time on court under the watchful eyes of England coach Tracey Neville.

Joyce Mvula relished in her freedom in the D, provided to her by O’Hanlon and Malcolm.  Her prowess under the post shining through.

Karen Greig was able to experiment with some combinations as the match rolled on, trialling Rebekah Airey at both WD and GK.

Sirens tried to edge their way back into the game in the final quarter, searching for something out of the game.  But hopes of a comeback had faded and with Tuivaiti taken off with a possible knock to the knee, Thunder were able to cement a solid lead.

Although it did not feel like a thrashing at the time, Thunder displayed confidence and composure on and off the ball, despite the Sirens defensive strength.  They were able to capitalise on Sirens’ mistakes at one end of the court and reap the rewards at the other.

Sirens’ 45 goals, a winning score on another day, was overshadowed by Thunder’s impressive 70.  The Black and Yellows were dominant in all areas of the court and their persistence paid off, placing a tick in the second box of the 2019 season campaign.

Thunder face Superleague newbies London Pulse next, hoping to make it three out of three wins so far this season.  Grab your tickets here: http://bit.ly/thundervpulse

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!

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Sasha Corbin of Mavericks in action during the match between Saracens Mavericks and Manchester Thunder during the Vitality Netball Superleague Super 10 at Arena Birmingham on January 5, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for England Netball)

Inspired attacking display secures back-to-back wins for Mavs

Saracens Mavericks produced a scintillating display of attacking prowess to overcome a battling Loughborough Lightning 64-51 and move into the top four of the Vitality Netball Superleague table.

A sold-out Hertfordshire Sports Village welcomed the Mavericks onto home court for the first time this season and they were treated to a thrilling encounter which saw goals flying in from all angles, intercepts taken across the court and a bruising, well-contested battle.

Despite a few unforced errors creeping into their play, the hosts were on top during the opening quarter with Jo Trip and Georgia Lees taking advantage of excellent cross-court pressure to win turnover ball.

George Fisher and Kadeen Corbin were combining well in the circle and finishing with deadly accuracy. A conversion rate of 94% saw Mavericks take a 17-12 lead.

The momentum was with the home side and they had Lightning rattled in the opening exchanges of Q2 with the combination of Lees and Fisher connecting superbly. To the delight of the crowd, the advantage was quickly at 11 goals.

In the defensive end Razia Quashie had a huge job on her hands with the visiting GS Mary Cholhok having a substantial height advantage.

At 6ft 7” the Ugandan shooter was the obvious target for Loughborough attacks, but the Roses defender was reading the play expertly to disrupt feeds into the circle.

At half-time Mavericks were 35-24 ahead.

An unchanged seven took to the court for the second half but it was Lightning who came out of the changing rooms the stronger.

A fired-up visiting side were adding physicality to their game and forced several errors to erode the hosts’ lead.

Kat Ratnapala responded by introducing fresh legs onto the court with Lindsay Keable taking over at GD and Trip shuffled to WD.

The intensity of the game was apparent in the amount of stoppages taken to clean up sweat from the court after several players tumbled over contesting for possession.

With the game becoming a little stop-start, Mavericks were able to wrestle back some control and restrict scoring opportunities for the away team. However, at the end of the third quarter, the lead had been trimmed to seven goals; 44-37.

The nerves from the home crowd were being felt on court as Loughborough scored a couple of early goals in the final fifteen minutes to move within five.

Calm heads were required, and the experience of Sasha Corbin shone through as she led the charge on turnover and combined well with sister Kadeen to keep the Mavericks score ticking over.

With time running down, Lightning were becoming increasingly desperate, allowing Lees an additional half yard of space to take advantage with several wonderful feeds into the waiting hands of Fisher.

There was just about time for one final whistle-beating goal from Fisher to secure a second win of the season for Mavericks.

It was match in which the home side had to show their battling qualities and real resilience to hold off a fightback from a strong Lightning side.

Reflecting on the result, head coach Kat Ratnapala said:

“There is no better feeling than playing in front of a sold out home crowd and the support on Friday night was electric. We were still looking for a performance to be proud of and knew that Loughborough, despite changes in their lineup are a solid team with several talented ex Mavericks players such as Oyesola & Clark and newly recruited 6ft7 Ugandan International Mary Cholhok.

We are still building as a squad and for 3 quarters, I was pleased with the intensity and attention to detail, unfortunately we had a drop-in momentum in the 3rd but was pleased with the players ability to bounce back & push on in the final quarter. Standout performances from Fisher, K Corbin and Quashie but Lees really impressed with her tenacity, perseverance & cool calm collectiveness throughout the game.”

Saracens Mavericks are next in action on Monday 4 February when they visit Celtic Dragons.

The next home fixture will be a highly anticipated showdown against a Team Bath side led by Serena Guthrie on Saturday 16 February. This game will be played at the University of Essex in Colchester and tickets are available here.

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!