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Saracens Mavericks 51-58 Wasps Netball

Wasps Netball opened up a nine-point gap on fifth-place Saracens Mavericks with a 58-51 win in Milton Keynes.

The Black and Golds trailed following the first-quarter but Mel Mansfield’s side came back strongly in the second period to build a decisive advantage.

The hard-fought win sees Wasps go level with Manchester Thunder at the top of the Superleague and take a big step towards a top-four finish.

Mansfield said: “We said this was a big game and it’s a really important win for us to pick up.

“I was really impressed with the defensive effort from the entire team out there but particularly the circle defence.

“We played a really smart game and adapted well to the changes Mavericks made in their attack.

“Fran Williams and Hannah Knights were excellent for us. They were aggressive and were really brave forcing a lot of turnovers.

“We’re in a good position now, being joint-top on points at this stage of the season. We’ve got two big games at Easter at Ricoh Arena and we’re looking forward to them.”

The hosts were fast out of the blocks and rushed out to an early three-goal lead.

Fran Williams forced an interception to halt Mavericks’ momentum and Rachel Dunn capitalised at the other end.

Mavericks were able to open up a four-goal lead, but Wasps immediately reined them back in, inspired by Bongi Msomi’s mid-court creativity.

The hosts pushed the ball back up the court to score before the buzzer and take a one-goal lead into the second-quarter.

Wasps scored first in the second-quarter through Dunn to level the scores and soon the Black and Golds led by two after a quickfire double.

Amy Flanagan and Hannah Knights produced interceptions on successive possessions to give their side a foothold – capitalising on sloppy play from the hosts.

Mavericks composed themselves, with ex-Wasp George Fisher enjoying a clinical shooting quarter, going goal-for-goal with Dunn.

The visitors finished the half strongly with the duo of Dunn and Katie Harris exerting their influence to help Wasps to an eight-goal advantage.

Mavericks forced two turnovers as they looked to reduce the deficit at the start of the third-quarter.

Sasha and Kadeen Corbin linked up well for the hosts, but Wasps kept working to limit attacking opportunities and were able to maintain their lead.

Mavericks enjoyed the best of the action, finding their shooters well, yet still trailed by seven goals as the fourth-quarter began.

Wasps started the final-quarter firing on all cylinders and within minutes led by 12, with Hannah Knights forcing a contact call to gain a key turnover and Jade Clarke following up with a tipped pass for the interception.

A late rally from Mavericks saw the hosts register three unanswered goals to put the pressure on Wasps with a minute to play, but the reigning champions kept their composure to secure a 58-51 victory.

Tickets are still 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: Steve Porter

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!

lightningvsmavs-main

Lightning come from behind to win top four clash

Loughborough Lightning stole the show on Saturday night claiming their seventh win in a row with a 54 – 49 victory over Saracens Mavericks.

Lightning began the game determined in front of a 900 strong home crowd. After a last-minute victory away to Severn Stars they were keen to push ahead and take the game at their own pace to get ahead early. Both sides converted their opening centre passes despite three interceptions during the first centre. The scores remained level for much of the quarter as Lightning looked to keep their calm and open up holes in Mavericks attack.

As the game progressed into the second quarter both sides increased their physicality in an attempt to force error. Multiple contact calls were made in Lightning’s shooting circle but Cholhok and Clark remained unphased and continued to sink their shots. With Panagarry providing critical support on the line, Shaw and Joseph worked the ball around before sending it over Mavericks defence into the shot line. Down at the far end Keenan and Oyesola had begun to read the incoming pass and push Corbin out wide to force the long bomb shot. The first half ended with Lightning trailing by just three.

A huge third quarter was needed from the home side to close the gap and get past the visitors. Mavericks made changes to their shooting line-up whilst Lightning chose to stay the same and push on. The fans were treated to many a turnover however Lightning struggled to hold on to the ball. The final five minutes of the quarter saw them close the gap and level the score. The whistle sounded and Lightning trailed by just one.

Remaining unchanged as the final quarter began, Lightning ignored Mavericks need to regroup and pushed on. With a deficit of just one point the game was far from over. Taking her chances from wide in the circle, Clark sunk shot after shot, impressing the fans with her basketball style shooting. Meanwhile Panagarry amped up the volume and pace to drive her side through the final 15 minutes. Showing pure grit and determination Lightning pushed past Mavericks in the final five minutes to take the lead and secure a 54 – 49 victory.

Gaining herself Player of the Match with another impressive performance on court, Nat Panagarry recognised the importance of a strong home crowd: “This season the crowd has been absolutely amazing, to everyone that comes in week in week out, we hear you constantly and we can’t explain how much of a difference it makes in pushing us right to the end.”

Head Coach Sara Bayman commented on the push from her side to close out the game: “I’m really pleased with their performance in the second half, we knew a quality side like Mavericks were going to push us for the entire 60 minutes. I think now we need to look at how we start the game how we finished it, we made really hard work of the first 30 minutes. I think because the last few games have gone down to the wire, it gives us a sense of belief that no matter how tired we are we can go out and win them so that was the message to the girls at half time.”

Lightning are back at home on Monday 8th April welcoming Surrey Storm to campus live on Sky Sports. Tickets to the clash are selling fast so secure your seats now by visiting www.loughboroughlighting.com

Scores:

Quarter 1: Loughborough Lightning 11 – 12 Saracens Mavericks

Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 22 – 25 Saracens Mavericks

Quarter 3: Loughborough Lightning 38 – 39 Saracens Mavericks

Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 54 – 49 Saracens Mavericks

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!

Photo credit: Still Sport

Mvs v Storm photo credit Steve Porter

Mavericks ride out Storm

Saracens Mavericks staged a pulsating fightback to overturn a five-goal half-time deficit and return to winning ways with a vital 58-50 victory over Surrey Storm on Saturday night.

The win returned Mavericks back to second place in the Vitality Netball Superleague table, with only goal difference separating the sides from second to fifth.

With semi-final positions in the balance, Mavericks couldn’t afford to be drowned by the Storm.

In their penultimate game at HSV this season, the hosts gave another capacity crowd a thrilling start to proceedings.

Nothing could separate the two teams in the opening quarter as the old foes battled goal for goal. A strong finish to Q1 had the visitors in front by two with shooters Sigi Berger and Yaz Hodge-England sitting on an impressive 100% shooting percentage and a 15-17 lead.

A game of hot potato broke out in the second quarter after Kadeen Corbin’s magical intercept only led to a steady stream of errors, neither side seemingly wanting to take control of the action.

At WD for Storm, Shadine Van Der Merwe was having a sensational game. A number of intercepts and tips halted the Mavericks attacking flow.

Sasha Corbin and Georgia Lees were fighting doggedly for possession but loose play through court resulted in turnover ball and missed opportunities.

England defender Razia Quashie came to life in the back end of the quarter, turning over fantastic one on one ball, but again Mavericks failed to reward the hard work and went into the half-time break trailing 26-31.

For Q3 the changes were rung with Mavericks injecting the cool head of Karyn Bailey at GS and Lindsay Keable at GD.

Jo Trip moved across to WD and took an intercept within the first five seconds, the ball transitioned through the attack to Bailey in the circle and, with immediate effect there was an air of calm in the Mavericks camp.

George Fisher, now in at GA, showed her true class and leadership as she fed ball with grace to her counterpart Bailey as well as sinking an impressive 11 from 11 in the third quarter to drag the home side back into the contest.

The experience and height of Keable and Quashie started to create problems for the Storm attack, limiting them to just nine goals in the quarter. This was supported by the relentless work of Michelle Drayne and Trip in front, creating a host of ball winning opportunities.

An incredible run from Mavericks had the crowd bouncing as they roared back with an impressive 18-9 quarter score to snatch a 44-40 lead.

With the momentum firmly in Mavericks corner, the team was unchanged for the final quarter.

A gear change in the Mavericks defence saw the trio of Drayne, Trip and Keable lock down the centre pass line like night club security, they had trainers on and therefore they weren’t coming in!

This allowed Fisher to take advantage of the hard work and an early intercept for the shooter was indicative of the dominance the team in purple and black had found.

The composure and stamina of Drayne, combined with her endless availability, helped secure the win for Mavericks and the Player of the Match award for herself.

Kat Ratnapala said post-match: “Today Storm had returning South African players, who were unavailable in the first time we played them, so we knew we needed to deliver a strong performance to take the points.

“We started off really slow and hesitant with the ball but definitely grew into the game and with a powerful 3rd quarter of 18-9, I’m pleased that we showed ourselves that we can come from behind and right some wrongs in quarters and when it matters.”

Saracens Mavericks are next in action in a crucial clash against Loughborough Lightning this Saturday.

The next home fixture will be the showcase fixture against 2018 Superleague Champions Wasps at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes. Tickets for this match are available to buy here.

POTM: Michelle Drayne
Photo credit: Steve Porter