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Wasps’ Mansfield: “They did themselves proud”

Wasps Netball secured a clean sweep in a pre-season Tri Tournament as they continue their preparations for the upcoming Vitality Netball Superleague campaign.

It marked the first time Mel Mansfield had led her team as Head Coach at the Ricoh Arena, overcoming London Pulse and Team Bath in a packed afternoon of netball.

The tournament saw the debut of new side London Pulse, with the new season getting underway in January 2019.

Mansfield was particularly impressed with the performance of her young players in their first appearance at the Ricoh.

“It was really good run out for us. I was particularly pleased with how we performed against Bath – we really stepped it up a gear,” said Mansfield.

“We were able to get some of our young players some good court time too, which is great experience for them. They did themselves proud against strong opposition.

“Defensively we were just brilliant, but this is by no means the finished product yet. It was good to be able to work out what our priorities need to be before our first fixture in January.

“Fran Williams played at Wing Defence, which was new for her, but I think she did really well. She is turning into an important, senior player for us.

“It was good to be back out at the Ricoh Arena too. The atmosphere was great and was the perfect opportunity for our new signings to get a taste of what playing in front of our home crowd is like.”

Wasps started the afternoon with their encounter against London Pulse.

The black-and-gold’s enjoyed a fast start, rushing out to an early three goal advantage and securing a six goal lead by the end of the first quarter.

A duo of flying intercepts, from Hannah Knights and Amy Flanagan, set the tone for the second quarter, as Wasps built a double-digit lead.

Mansfield’s side continued to shine in the second half, building a big lead to run out eventual 41-26 winners.

In the afternoon’s second fixture, Team Bath met London Pulse. Pulse again struggled to get into their rhythm as Bath took the lead early.

By half-time the game was all but decided, with Bath leading 27-13. The impressive display from Bath continued in the final two quarters, winning 44-29.

The final game of the afternoon saw a rematch of last season’s Vitality Netball Superleague semi-final with Wasps against Team Bath.

Bath took the lead early, but were pegged back by sharpshooter Rachel Dunn. It was end-to-end throughout the first quarter, with Wasps edging it 9-6.

The visitors fought back and by half-time had reduced the deficit to just one goal. Wasps took control after the break, with two quick-fire goals giving them the momentum.

The home side had built a ten goal lead mid-way through the final quarter. Bath attempted to mount a comeback, but the home side stood strong, winning 36-28.

Wasps Netball season tickets are now general sale for the Vitality Netball Superleague 2019 season. To find out more visit https://www.waspsnetball.co.uk/season-membership

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!

Team-Bath-Loughborough-101118-496x300

Team Bath secure tri-tournament victory

Team Bath Netball made an encouraging start to their pre-season fixtures as they recorded two well-earned victories in a tri-tournament hosted by Loughborough Lightning on Saturday. All 14 players in the Blue & Gold squad got court time as they stepped up their preparations for the 2019 Vitality Superleague campaign, which begins in January.

After a minute silence on court to honour the Remembrance weekend, Lightning and Strathclyde Sirens took to the court to kick start the proceedings, all donning a black armband in respect of the fallen. A 400-strong crowd of fans eagerly joined the squads in Sir David Wallace Arena.

A fairly even start to the match saw both sides convert their centre passes levelling the scores at every opportunity. Despite an increasingly dominant defensive duo, Clinton remained calm in the shooting circle, using her long range to Lightning’s advantage to smoothly sink the shots. However, Sirens’ new addition Cat Tuivaiti was also out to impress for her new side and matched the shots, Sirens eventually pulling ahead towards the end of the quarter, finishing it 11 – 6 ahead of the home side. Whilst both sides continued to up the speed and increase the pressure, Sirens maintained a solid lead throughout the game. Lightning’s Oyesola showed no signs of slowing, changing it up a gear at each quarter to continuously disrupt Sirens flow and gain Lightning an advantage. Despite their best efforts, Sirens ended the match on top, claiming a 28 – 51 victory over the home side.

Match number two of the day saw Strathclyde Sirens take to the court just an hour later against Team Bath. With both sides boasting big names in their 2019 line-ups with the likes of Commonwealth gold medallists Serena Guthrie in the Blue and Gold and New Zealand’s Cat Tuivaiti in the black and red, fans were eager to see how the two sides matched up. A feisty start saw Sirens once again take the early lead however a ferocious Team Bath were not going to lay this match to rest, coming from behind in the second half to steal the win from the Scottish side in the final minutes of the game, final score Team Bath 39 – 33 Strathclyde Sirens.

The final match of the day saw Lightning return to court, refreshed and eager to right the wrongs from earlier in the day. With the arrival of Tuaine Keenan, Lightning’s fresh legs and determination saw them spring ahead in the opening minutes to take a 5 – 0 lead. Despite numerous changes at each quarter, lightning maintained their lead for most of the game with Hollingworth and Oyesola causing constant disruption to Baths attack whilst the smooth long bombs from Parize and Clinton saw their score line slowly creep up. Trailing by just a few points for the first 30 minutes, Team Bath made a last-minute surge in the final quarter to close the gap and level the score. However, with the on-court dominance of Bath’s international stars playing privy to lightning’s fresh feet, two goals in the dying moments of the game saw Bath take their second win of the day to secure the overall tri-tournament victory.

Team Bath face two more pre-season challenges this Saturday (November 17) as they visit champions Wasps Netball for a tri-tournament also featuring new franchise London Pulse. The Blue & Gold then have a tri-tournament of their own to look forward to on Saturday, December 15 as they play host to benecosMavericks and Surrey Storm. Doors open at 1pm and supporters will be able to enjoy three games in one action-packed afternoon at the Team Bath Arena.

Next weekend Lightning will travel to Manchester Thunder in their next pre-season fixture. Lightning fans can then catch their side in action on home soil again on Saturday 8th December as they welcome new side London Pulse and benecosMavericks to Sir David Wallace Arena for their second pre-season tri-tournament.

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!

Jade Clarke

Roses go head-to-head in tri-tournament

Two of England’s most decorated netballers will go head-to-head in a tournament at the Ricoh Arena this weekend.

Wasps Netball star Jade Clarke and Team Bath’s Serena Guthrie will meet as part of a Tri Tournament at the Ericsson Indoor Arena on Saturday, November 17.

Three teams will compete in the pre-season showcase, with Bath, Wasps and Vitality Netball Superleague newcomers London Pulse battling it out on the day.

The packed afternoon of action will see the first centre-pass take place at 3pm, with the final game underway at 5.45pm.

Clarke is used to lining up alongside Guthrie in an England dress, but this will be the first time the duo have played against each other since their time playing in the Australian Suncorp Super League.

They have both been named in the Vitality Roses squad for a three-match series against Uganda next month, with Guthrie as captain and Clarke as vice-captain.

The squad also features Wasps’ Rachel Dunn and Bath’s Eboni Usoro-Brown, who are both expected to be in action at the Ricoh Arena Tri-Tournament.

Clarke says she is looking forward to testing herself against one of the world’s best mid-court players.

“We have always had good battles over the years and we love coming up against each other,” she said.

“Serena is one of my best friends and I think you always go harder when you play against your friends. She is one of the best in the world in her position and it will be good to test myself against her.

“It’s great for the league that players like Serena are coming back to play in the Vitality Netball Superleague which is going from strength to strength.”

It will be the first time that netball fans will get the chance to see London Pulse’s Vitality Netball Superleague side take to the court – after announcing their squad for the 2019 season only last week.

The tournament will also be Wasps’ first outing since lifting the British Fast5 All-Stars title last month.

Clarke added: “We’re very interested to see what London Pulse will bring. Their squad has a real mix of quality and I think they will be a dark horse in the upcoming season.

“I’m really excited to be back out there in a Wasps dress. We haven’t got long until the new season starts and pre-season tests like this are really important.

“All three teams will be looking to prove themselves on Saturday and it will be a great showcase of netball.”

Wasps Netball season tickets for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague campaign are on sale now exclusively to 2018 season ticket holders, with season tickets on general sale on Saturday, November 17.

Tickets for the Tri Tournament on November 17 start from £20 for adults and £10 for juniors and can be purchased from www.waspsnetball.co.uk

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!

Beryl

Beryl Friday fulfils England ambition

Versatile Australian attacker Beryl Friday says she has fulfilled a long-term ambition after joining Team Bath Netball for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season.

The 24-year-old made her first appearance in Blue & Gold during the British Fast5 All-Stars Championships recently, impressing with her composure and energy in attack.

Now Friday – a former ANZ champion with Queensland Firebirds – will bring those talents to Team Bath’s Vitality Netball Superleague squad for the new season and is looking forward to experiencing life in England.

“I am really excited to be a part of Team Bath,” said Friday, who can play wing-attack, goal-attack and goal-shooter. “I understand that the team has a great culture and I am hoping I can positively contribute to the club.

“I’m not a flashy player but I like to think I am consistent, am happy to put up a high volume of shots and will give 100 per cent in every game, week in week out.

“Playing in England is something I have been planning on doing since I was a teenager. I have even refused to travel to Europe before because I knew I would live here eventually, so I am stoked it has actually happened. I feel this is a real tick to my bucket list.”

Friday has been learning more about her new home country from returning Blue & Gold star Serena Guthrie, the duo having become firm friends while training together with GIANTS Netball in Sydney during the past couple of years.

“I knew that David Beckham and the Spice Girls are from England and people drink a lot of tea here!” said Friday, who was a training partner with GIANTS’ Suncorp Super Netball squad and played for their Canberra sister club in the Australian National League (ANL).

“I’ve asked Serena a lot about England and she has been a great help, I am very lucky to have her patiently help me. She has cemented what I thought the club was about and how hard everyone works.

“I was sad when I heard Serena was leaving Sydney. I thought ‘wow, I just met this really cool person and I don’t know if I’ll see her again’, so it’s quite funny that I’m going to be with her in Bath.

“I feel Serena has improved immensely during her time in Australia, her consistent defence and circle feeds in particular, and I am looking forward to being on the receiving end of some of those passes.”

Guthrie is delighted that Friday will be joining her in Blue & Gold in 2019, saying: “I’ve got to know Beryl from being in the GIANTS netball set-up and I’m excited to see what she can bring at Vitality Netball Superleague level.

“Her elusiveness and cool head will bring an element of composure to our attack end which will be key in pressure games.”

Jess Thirlby, Team Bath Netball Head Coach, added: “Beryl has been a welcome addition to the team and has fitted in seamlessly already. She has a great character and brings energy to the group, while calmly going about her work on court.

“Beryl is an all-round attacker with lots of versatility and her ability and experience of playing both WA and GA at the highest level overseas will really add value to this team.

“It was great to see her make her mark so soon at the Fast5 All-Stars we are excited to work more with her over the next couple of months. I’m confident that Beryl will have a positive impact on the team and am excited to see her relationships with her team-mates develop and grow.”

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!