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Kim Commane 2019

Team Bath storm to emphatic win at Loughborough

Anna Stembridge has hailed Team Bath Netball’s biggest Vitality Superleague win of the 2019 season so far – Saturday’s 75-50 victory at Loughborough Lightning – as a “performance to be proud of”.

The Blue & Gold were dominant right across the court as they produced the perfect response to their disappointing home defeat to Surrey Storm in their previous game and moved level on points with Saracens Mavericks, who they visit in a televised fixture on Saturday (February 16, 6.30pm centre-pass).

“The girls really got their heads down after the Storm game and it was pleasing to see them respond like that, they put out a performance to be proud of,” said Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach Stembridge.

“Loughborough have had some personnel changes but they are still a really good side and the final scoreline doesn’t reflect what a well contested game it was.

“For me, what was most pleasing was the way we built throughout the match. It was quite close for the first ten minutes but once we found our feet, we really clicked into gear and finished the first quarter brilliantly to lead 22-12.

“They came back at us during the second period but it is important that we demonstrated we are comfortable when going goal for goal with a team and that was certainly the case on Saturday.

“We had a game plan that we stuck to for most of the game and we brought real intensity right across the court. We were relentless in defence as a team and we were slick in attack, displaying some really good ball speed.

“There was no sitting back on the lead either – we won all four quarters and maintained a high level of performance throughout, with the players who came off the bench – Leila Thomas for her debut, Mia Ritchie and Beryl Friday – all making an impact.”

Team Bath named the same starting seven that had lined up against Storm, with University of Bath student Chartie Curtis once again forming a good partnership with Summer Artman in defence.

Imogen Allison and captain Serena Guthrie continued to forge an excellent understanding just in front of the back two, breaking up play and linking brilliantly with the dynamic attacking trio of Rachel Shaw, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and Kim Commane.

Australian shooter Commane was in ruthless form as she converted 43 of her 45 shots as Team Bath continued to pull away, going 39-25 up at half-time and stretching their advantage to 56-37 in the third quarter before wrapping up an emphatic victory.

“Kim was sensational on Saturday, both in terms of creativity and her shooting,” Stembridge added. “A 96 per cent conversion rate is outstanding and she demonstrated great leadership at critical times as well.”

It was Team Bath’s third away win of the season and they will be looking to maintain that perfect record on the road when they visit the University of Essex to face fourth-placed Mavericks, who were edged out 54-50 by table-topping Wasps on Monday.

“There has always been a great rivalry between Team Bath and Mavericks over the years and some memorable matches,” said Stembridge.

“We have done our homework and will be looking to put out a well thought-out game plan for the full 60 minutes. Mavericks are creative and athletic in attack and are rangy and deceptive in defence, so we will have to be smart with our approach. We’re looking forward to the match, it should be a good contest.”

Team Bath’s next two home matches – against Wasps on February 22 and Manchester Thunder on March 1 – have sold out but tickets are available for the five other scheduled fixtures at the Team Bath Arena. Visit netball.teambath.com/fixtures for more information.

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!

twitter-In-Stream_Wide___Sophia Candappa

Wasps Netball maintain unbeaten record

Wasps Netball came through a tough test with a 54-50 win against title challengers Saracens Mavericks.

Mel Mansfield’s team trailed in the second-quarter and resisted a late comeback from Mavericks to secure their fourth successive victory.

Sophia Candappa was named Player of the Match for the first time in her career.

Mansfield said: “We knew this was going to be our toughest test yet and it was exactly that.

“We’ve had strong third-quarters in each of our last three games and that shined through again.

“In training we have been working hard on our fitness levels and maintaining performance levels.

“When we took the lead in the third-quarter I didn’t feel like we were going to fall behind again.

“Having a tight game like this will be really good for us, the team will have learnt a lot about themselves tonight.”

George Fisher opened the scoring for the hosts on her return to Ricoh Arena but Katie Harris levelled the score within seconds.

A flying intercept from Hannah Knights proved an early highlight, as the home side built toward a six-goal lead.

Mavericks worked their back into the game with ease and were soon within one goal, through some strong play from Sasha Corbin.

Both sides continued to go goal-for-goal until the end of the first-quarter, with Wasps maintaining a slender one-goal advantage.

Mavericks started the second-quarter quickly and took the lead through strong shooting from Kadeen Corbin and supported by a series of turnovers from the home side.

The visitors were faster to every ball over the next five minutes and built a five-goal advantage.

A defensive stop from Wasps Goal Keeper Sam May swung momentum and her side capitalised with back-to-back quickfire goals to bring Wasps level at half-time.

Candappa took to the court for the third-quarter and made an immediate impact, helping the Black and Golds to three unanswered goals.

Wasps pressed their advantage over the next eight minutes – despite physical defending from the visitors attempting to disrupt the hosts’ attacking flow.

The combination of Harris and Rachel Dunn proved unmatchable, exchanging quick passes to work around the Mavericks defence and growing an eight-goal lead.

Fran Williams impressed in the final-quarter against her England teammates Kadeen Corbin and Fisher.

Mavericks surged back and were soon within four, with only Dunn’s immaculate shooting keeping Wasps in front.

But Mansfield’s side managed to hold off the visitors and come away 54-50 winners.

Wasps Netball’s next fixture will see them face Celtic Dragons at Sport Wales National Centre on Monday 18 February (7pm centre-pass).

Attendance: 1,070

Player of the match: Sophia Candappa

Q1: 15-14
Q2: 27-27
Q3: 43-36
Q4: 54-50

Wasps starting seven: GK Sam May; GD Hannah Knights; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Bongi Msomi; GA Katie Harris; GS Rachel Dunn

Used substitutes: Sophia Candappa (WA); Fran Williams (GD)

Mavericks starting seven: GK Razia Quashie; GD Jo Trip; WD Michelle Drayne; C Sasha Corbin; WA Georgia Lees; GA Kadeen Corbin; GS George Fisher

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!

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!

twitter-In-Stream_Wide___Getty_20181211_4648

George Fisher wins inaugural Vitality Player of the Month Award

We are delighted to introduce the Vitality Player of the Month Award that will run through the 2019 season. This will be a monthly award to recognise individual performances over a calendar month.

The January 2019, and first ever, winner of the award is George Fisher.

With Fisher leading the attack, Saracens Mavericks finished January as the league’s highest scorers. Fisher has formed a strong partnership with Kadeen Corbin, together putting defences on the back foot and helping to fire Saracens into early contention to finish in the top four.

In the second game of the season against Surrey Storm, Fisher finished the game with her shooting stats sitting at a sensational 98% success rate – only missing one shot out of the 44 she took.

The 20-year-old Vitality Rose mainly features as goal shooter but can also play at goal attack. She has also played for Turnford Netball Club and Wasps Netball.

You can see George and her Saracens Mavericks teammates in action on Monday as they travel to her former team and defending champions, Wasps Netball. The fixture will be live on Sky Sports and coverage starts at 6:45pm.

Their next home game is on Saturday 16th February against Team Bath. You can buy tickets here: https://www.mavericksnetball.co.uk/tickets/buy-match-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!