Vitality Netball Superleague: Saracens Mavericks beat Team Bath Netball; Thunder oust Lightning

Saracens Mavericks produced their best performance of the season to topple Team Bath Netball (Image Credit – Ben Lumley)

Saracens Mavericks inflicted a first defeat of the season on Team Bath Netball, while Manchester Thunder ended Loughborough Lightning’s seven-match winning streak on a dramatic day in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

In the middle of those two matches, Severn Stars overcame an injury to Beth Dyke to beat Celtic Dragons and Wasps’ strong first-half performance took the three points away from London Pulse.

Round Nine continues on Monday, with two matches live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 5pm. First, Stars take on Pulse before Mavs return to court to meet Thunder.

Vitality Netball Superleague – Round Nine Results

Sunday Manchester Thunder 59-50 Loughborough Lightning
Sunday Severn Stars 47-35 Celtic Dragons
Sunday London Pulse 37-49 Wasps
Sunday Saracens Mavericks 39-38 Team Bath Netball
Monday at 5.15pm Severn Stars vs London Pulse
Monday at 7.15pm Saracens Mavericks vs Manchester Thunder

Mavs shake league up and beat Bath

Saracens Mavericks produced an outstanding performance to become the first team to beat Team Bath Netball this season.

The 39-38 victory was a result of a high-octane team performance and came despite losing England international Razia Quashie to injury in the first quarter.

Mavs started superbly and raced into 4-1 lead, with Quashie gaining some of their early turnovers before injury struck.

Her departure forced Mavs into changing their personnel from WA onwards; Georgia Lees arrived at WA and then Sasha Corbin, Gabby Marshall, Jodie Gibson and Jo Trip all had to shift down a position.

The changes didn’t disrupt Mavs, instead they galvanised them and created great individual contests across the court.

Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
Saracens Mavericks 10 11 11 7 39
Team Bath Netball 11 8 11 8 38

Together Trip and Gibson were able to put Kim Borger and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis under significant pressure, while at the other end Kadeen Corbin was outstanding in Mavs’ shooting circle.

With a 21-19 half-time lead, captain Sasha Corbin implored Mavs to press on in the second half and they did just that to open up a five-goal cushion.

However, Bath reeled them in again and an even third quarter gave the league-leaders a fighting chance going into the last.

With the match poised at 32-30 both benches were animated at three-quarter time and when the game re-commenced, Bath clawed a goal back straight away.

From there, it took a long time for Mavs to respond however crucially for them, they did and then they stayed strong until the final 70 seconds, when Bath’s endeavour clawed it back to 38-38.

With the pressure on, Mavs secured their next centre pass and Bath almost did the same. However, when the ball went into Bath’s shooting circle for the last time, Borger’s foot was narrowly out of court, and that handed Mavs the possession that they needed to secure a colossal victory.

Thunder’s final-quarter surge sinks Lightning

The contest started the penultimate weekend of netball in Wakefield  (Image Credit - Ben Lumley)

The contest started the penultimate weekend of netball in Wakefield (Image Credit – Ben Lumley)

An outstanding final 12 minutes from Manchester Thunder ensured that they became only the second team this season to beat Loughborough Lightning, recording a 59-50 success.

Karen Greig’s side were 42-41 ahead going into the fourth quarter before they raised their intensity and wrestled back momentum, after Lightning had dominated the third quarter.

The victory should give Greig’s outfit plenty of confidence going into their second match of the round, a clash against Saracens Mavericks on Monday night, while Lightning will have to stew on their loss until Round 10.

After a strong start from both outfits, Lightning held a 15-14 advantage at the first pause. Then, as Hannah Joseph and Nat Panagarry took charge in attack, they created a four-goal cushion for themselves as the second played out.

However, the 2019 champions kept cool heads. They capitalised on their persistent work in defence and utilised the accuracy of Joyce Mvula and Eleanor Cardwell to draw level, and then move five up at half-time.

Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
Manchester Thunder 14 17 11 17 59
Loughborough Lightning 15 11 15 9 50

Thunder kept their line-up the same for the third quarter, while Lightning introduced Jaz Odeogberin at GD and Ella Clark at GA.

Odeogberin and Sam May instantly connected and made life more challenging for Mvula and Cardwell, while dual international Clark made the GA position her own.

A 15-11 quarter in Lightning’s favour, created a one-goal contest with 12 minutes to play but instead of Lightning pushing on in the last, Thunder snatched the match from their grasp. In mid-court Caroline O’Hanlon was superb and as a collective they used their quick route to goal to run away with the otherwise close contest.

Stars have too much for Dragons

Following a goal-for-goal start in the second game of the afternoon, Stars were rocked by a match-ending injury to Beth Dyke, who had to be helped off court in some distress.

After overcoming the initial shock, Melissa Bessell’s team rallied and the injury to their WA simply added to their motivation as they powered through to a 47-35 win.

They led 14-10 after the first quarter and then made the most of Dragons’ attack-end misfiring to enjoy a 26-18 lead at the midway point.

Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
Severn Stars 14 12 7 14 47
Celtic Dragons 10 8 9 8 35

The third quarter saw Dragons’ defenders – Abby Tyrrell and Christina Shaw – secure a much greater amount of ball and that enabled them to move back within touching distance with a quarter to play.

However, aware of the threat against them, Stars set the tone for the final quarter with a long-range swish shot from Paige Read and they accelerated away from there.

In the closing minutes, with a 15-goal cushion now established, Bessell handed a Superleague debut to Hannah Howl and gave further time on court to 16-year-old Issy Eaton.

Wasps’ fast start does the job

In the penultimate match of the day, Wasps flew out of the blocks against London Pulse to put the game out of their ‘ reach by half-time.

In Round Eight, it took Mel Mansfield’s team until the final quarter to put away bottom of the table Celtic Dragons and this time, they started like a freight train and put in the hard yards during the first half.

Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
London Pulse 9 8 9 11 37
Wasps 15 15 9 10 49

Josie Huckle picked off intercepts at will and Centre Amy Flanagan worked both ends of the court superbly. With turnovers being created and fluidity restored in Wasps’ attack, it create a 13-goal half-time lead.

While Wasps changed just one player at the break, with Gezelle Allison coming on at GA, Pulse’s head coach Sam Bird decided to make wholesale changes and it resulted in an extremely positive second half.

London Pulse’s Second Quarter vs Third Quarter

GS – Sigi Burger GS – Liv Tchine
GA – Lefebre Rademan GA – Lefebre Rademan
WA – Ashleigh Dekker WA – Kira Rothwell
C – Ellie Rattu C – Michelle Drayne
WD – Funmi Fadoju WD – Zara Everitt
GD – Zara Everitt GD – Lindsay Keable
GK – Halimat Adio GK – Halimat Adio

Pulse’s defensive-end was driven by Zara Everitt, who had a strong game at GD before moving to WD, and as a collective they kept Wasps’ tally down.

With a fresher partnership in their shooting circle, Wasps weren’t as fluid as they had been, while at the other end Liv Tchine put up some superb long-range shots to hold the third quarter to nine goals apiece.

Despite Wasps keeping their own tally moving, Pulse increased in confidence and dynamism as the match continued. Defensively they remained sharp and they should take a great deal of positivity heading into their second match of the round on Monday night.

Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Monday with two more matches on Sky Sports Arena and Mix from 5pm, both contests will also be streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.

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