Strathclyde Sirens Vs Loughborough Lightning

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Jodi-Ann Ward 3 - credit Andrew Taylor

Jamaican international Ward looking forward to double-header

Severn Stars defender Jodi-Ann Ward says the team is really positive going into this weekend’s matches against Team Bath and Surrey Storm.

Severn Stars have been preparing for the Vitality Netball Superleague Big Easter weekend as they take on Team Bath on Saturday 20 April (6pm centre pass) at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena before travelling away to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry to play Surrey Storm on Sunday 21 April (4pm centre pass).

After three wins on the bounce, including an away win against top of the table Manchester Thunder last Saturday (13 April), 24-year-old Jamaican international Ward says the squad are in a buoyant mood.

“Beating [Manchester] Thunder is a great accomplishment for the team,” she said. “We are very pleased with the performance of the entire squad. We played for each other from start to finish. We still had a few rough patches on court and we fixed them on court, which was one thing we didn’t do well in most of our previous games.

“At the moment we are really motivated and positive going forward. Bath and Storm are both strong teams but we were struggling in a few areas when we last played them. With those areas fixed we should perform well against them this time around.”

Ward, who won a bronze medal with Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and developed a love for the sport over a number of years when she started playing for Moneague Primary School in St. Ann, joined Severn Stars this season. Ward said: “For me I think the team have come a long way from when we started the season. The connections have grown a lot within the team. The links from defence through court to attack have improved significantly and our circle connections both in attack and defence have improved as well.”

Talking about the playing for the Severn Stars, Ward said: “I had to adjust to the way the team plays, which I feel I’m doing well at. I think the best thing about playing for Severn Stars is that everyone is open to changes and new ideas. And the players are [there] for each other.

“Playing in the UK took a lot of adjusting, mainly with weather. I’m not a fan of the everyday cold but I think I am adjusting well. I know what to expect daily – always walk with a jacket!”

Tickets for the Severn Stars’ home games can be purchased via www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleague-severn-stars#bio

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: Andrew Taylor

Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning, 

Friday, 12, April, 2019 - Team Bath Arena - Bath - United Kingdom
Mandatory Photo Credit: Bob Bradford

Team Bath come from seven goals down to stun Lightning

Team Bath Netball overturned a seven-goal deficit and then held off a last-quarter comeback as they defeated top-four rivals Loughborough Lightning 57-55 in a sensational 2019 Vitality Superleague showdown that fully lived up to its pre-match billing.

The battle between third and fourth place promised to be an epic encounter and it was all that and more as another four-figure crowd at the Team Bath Arena was treated to a spectacle high on quality, drama and tension.

There was nothing to separate the teams in the first quarter but a seven-goal burst during the second period gave Lightning the initiative, only for the Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold to rally superbly.

They closed the gap to three at half-time before a magnificent team performance in the third-quarter, which they won 21-11, put Team Bath into a seemingly comfortable 49-42 lead.

Lightning had other ideas, though, and managed to draw level midway through a breathless final quarter but Team Bath dug deep, held their nerve and managed to wrap up three vital points in the race for the semi-finals.

Head Superleague coach Anna Stembridge said: “It was a brilliant game, we knew it was going to be an awesome spectacle. We know that Lightning have the attacking power to build a lead and kill the game but I was really proud of the way we stuck to the task and showed such grit and character.

“We got over the line, we got the points and we have learnt a lot from that game and that performance.”

Defender Summer Artman, who was Genuine Car Services Player of the Match for a second successive home game, added: “As a team we are finding different ways to win, so we’ll take coming back from a seven-goal deficit.

“We could feel the pressure on the court but the crowd really helped us, they fully got behind us and it feels really good to have got the win.”

Both teams went into the match on the back of their first defeats in more than a month and were clearly determined to make quick amends.

A high-quality first period saw Team Bath got off to a confident start as they turned over Lightning’s centre-pass and took a lead that they held until the closing stages of the quarter.

The Blue & Gold were pinging the ball around the court quickly, while Kim Commane and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis combined excellent movement with clinical finishing as the hosts edged into an 11-7 lead with five minutes of the quarter to go.

Artman and Eboni Usoro-Brown were applying excellent defensive pressure at the other end but Ella Clark and imposing shooter Mary Cholhok began to work some space and, as Lightning forced turnovers, the visitors were able to claw back Team Bath’s lead.

They edged ahead for the first time in the closing stages but a fine finish from Drakeford-Lewis on the buzzer ensured a hard-fought first quarter finished all square at 14-14.

The early stages of the second quarter continued to be evenly matched but a seven-goal blitz from the ruthless Cholhok saw Lightning take a stranglehold on the game.

The atmosphere was tense in the Team Bath Arena but the home side kept battling away and, with the crowd fired up by two superb interceptions by Usoro-Brown and Artman, they began to work their way back into the game.

With Commane providing some fine finishes, Team Bath cut the lead to two before a late goal from Clark ensured Lightning held a 38-21 advantage at the break.

There was a blow for Team Bath in the opening minute of the third quarter as Drakeford-Lewis took a knock and limped off the court but replacement Laura Rudland immediately settled into the rapid pace of the game as she set up Commane for two quick-fire goals.

She was also on target twice herself in succession as Team Bath closed to within one goal and, after a phenomenal interception from Serena Guthrie, Rudland scored again to level at 34-34 before putting the hosts ahead for the first time since quarter one.

Another Commane double quickly stretched the lead out to three goals and, while Lightning managed to stay in touch, the wind was now very much in Team Bath’s sails.

Imogen Allison and Guthrie were dominating the mid-court, forcing a number of turnovers and helping Artman and Usoro-Brown lessen the influence of Lightning’s previously influential attackers.

Rachel Shaw, Rudland and Commane were also fluid in attack as Team Bath went on to win the quarter 21-11 and turn a three-goal deficit at half-time into an emphatic 49-42 advantage.

Lightning made some attacking changes for the final 15 miites, with Amy Clinton replacing Cholhok at GS and former Team Bath player Jess Shaw – who had come on late in the third period – continuing at C.

It had a massive impact as the visitors produced another brilliant seven-goal burst to draw level at 51-51 midway through an increasingly nervy final period.

The game remained in the balance right up until the last couple of minutes before, with Drakeford-Lewis back on at GA, Team Bath finally managed to put together three goals in a row to finally kill off Lightning’s challenge.

Next up for Team Bath is a busy Easter weekend which sees them visit South West rivals on Saturday, April 20 (6pm) before taking on fellow semi-final contenders Saracens Mavericks during Super 6 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Sunday, April 21 (6pm).

Tickets for both the Mavericks game and Team Bath’s final home match of the regular season – against newcomers London Pulse on Saturday, May 4 (6pm) – are on sale now at netball.teambath.com/fixtures.

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!

Photo credit: Bob Bradford Images

TeamBath Netball 2018 - Bailbrook House 
07/12/18
www.claregreenphotography.com

Team Bath Netball determined to bounce back quickly

Team Bath Netball will be looking to take inspiration from one of their best performances of the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season so far when they take on top-four rivals Loughborough Lightning in a crunch home match on Friday (7.30pm centre-pass).

The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold produced an eye-catching display to convincingly win the reverse fixture back in February. Since then both Team Bath and Lightning have enjoyed excellent winning runs – of six and seven games respectively – to put themselves firmly in contention for a coveted semi-final spot as they sit third and fourth respectively, level on 27 points.

Those runs come to an end this week, with Team Bath going down 61-46 at reigning champions Wasps on Saturday and Lightning losing 63-59 at home to Surrey Storm on Monday, but Blue & Gold Head Superleague Coach Anna Stembridge is expecting a cracking contest on Friday as both teams seek an instant response.

“It obviously wasn’t the result we were looking for at Wasps but I am confident the team will bounce back accordingly and apply themselves in training this week to put things right,” she said.

“Historically it has always been a great game against Lightning. We had a really good performance against them in the reverse fixture, one of our best this season, but we are very aware of the form and results they have achieved recently so we are expecting a great display of netball between us.

“We have a really exciting final month of the Superleague season coming up with five massive matches. I say all the time that any result is possible in this league and we saw it again at the weekend as London Pulse beat Saracens Mavericks so it doesn’t matter who you face, you really can’t take anything for granted.

“No team has an easy run-in and I wouldn’t want one either, you want to earn your place in the top four.”

Team Bath remain three points clear of fifth-placed Mavericks despite their setback against second-placed Wasps, who opened up a 16-10 lead at the end of Saturday’s first quarter and were able to build on that throughout despite a tireless effort from the visitors.

“For me, the game was won and lost in the first quarter when Wasps had quite a long run of uninterrupted scoring,” said Stembridge. “They were able to establish a six-goal lead and it set the tone for the game overall.

“We tried various combinations to see if we could disrupt their flow but Wasps were more clinical than in recent weeks and we were unable to force the defensive turnovers that have been a key part of our game this season.

“There were many positives to take, though. Imogen Allison and Serena Guthrie have really established themselves as a great mid-court unit and they stuck to their task well, while Sophie Drakeford-Lewis worked tremendously hard once again in both attack and defence.”

Team Bath will be cheered on by another four-figure crowd against Lightning but more tickets have been made available for Friday’s big game – visit netball.teambath.com/fixtures to purchase for both that match and the finale of the regular season against London Pulse on Saturday, May 4 (6pm centre-pass).

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!

Katie Harris goal

Wasps beat Team Bath in top four clash

Wasps Netball maintained their pressure on league leaders Manchester Thunder with a dominant 61-46 win against Team Bath.

Mel Mansfield’s side were on top throughout the game, winning every quarter and capitalising on turnovers forced by their high-pressure defence.

The win against top-four rivals Team Bath puts Wasps six points clear of fifth place with five games left of the regular season.

Mansfield said: “That was potentially our best performance over the full 60 minutes tonight against really strong opposition.

“We stuck to the gameplan and trusted it throughout, winning every single quarter which I’m really happy with.

“I’m so pleased with the defence, they worked so hard to limit Bath all over the court and that made a real difference.

“It’s amazing what a win does for the mood in the camp and to beat a top team in a pressurised game like this will do wonders for the players’ confidence.

“The top four is so tight and I think we really stamped our authority with a win like this.”

Wasps enjoyed a fast start to the fixture with Jade Clarke orchestrating play from the mid-court.

Clarke continued to disrupt the opposition and spark attacks, linking up well with Katie Harris to create goalscoring opportunities.

Rachel Dunn and Harris were in great form in the shooting circle, taking advantage of the chances developed by the Wasps mid-court – with Bath struggling to slow down Bongi Msomi.

The Black and Golds did well throughout the first-quarter to limit the impact of Serena Guthrie, highlighted by a well-timed interception from Amy Flanagan.

The home side continued to put the pressure on the visitors in the second-quarter, with Bath forced to move Eboni Usuro-Brown to Goal Keeper to combat the free-flowing Wasps attack.

Wasps soon led by double figures but were immediately pegged back by Bath with two quickfire goals.

Fran Williams worked tirelessly to shut down the Bath offence – nearly forcing turnovers on three consecutive attempts – yet the visitors were still able to score.

Dunn continued her shooting clinic in the final possession of the half, scoring on the buzzer to extend her side’s lead to 11.

Bath opened the second-half with two unanswered goals, but Williams was there again to halt their momentum with an interception.

Dunn continued to win her battle with the Bath defenders, despite being put under pressure, and scored to maintain Wasps’ advantage.

Bath struggled to rein in their hosts, as both sides went goal-for-goal, until the last three minutes when Wasps pulled out to a 14-goal lead.

Josie Huckle and Tamsin Moala were introduced in the final-quarter as Wasps maintained their intensity to secure a 61-46 win.

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: Clive Jones