SARACENS Mavericks put in an outstanding team performance to snap Team Bath’s unbeaten record in a tight 39-38 victory in the Vitality Netball Superleague, writes Hannah Clarke.
Despite changes being made due to Razia Quashie being forced off with injury in the first quarter, Mavericks were undisrupted.
Bath managed to claw it back to 38-38 with 70 seconds left to play but after turning over the centre pass, Kim Borger’s foot was narrowly out of court as the ball entered the Bath shooting circle.
That handed possession to Mavericks who took it to goal to secure a landmark victory.
Team Bath head coach Anna Stembridge said: “It was a great game in terms of the neutral spectator and fair play to Saracens, I thought they did really well. They didn’t steal much ball, we didn’t get much turnover like we have previously.
“We just got a bit sticky at times, we weren’t letting the ball go, but credit to Mavericks, it was a great game but unfortunately we didn’t get the win and that hurts.”
Earlier in the day a final surge from Manchester Thunder enabled them to secure a 59-50 victory over Loughborough Lightning, who have only lost one other game so far this season.
Going into the fourth quarter Thunder has a one goal advantage at 42-41 but an increase in intensity ensured the reigning champions were able to see out the win.
Celtic Dragons remain on the hunt for their first win of the season as Severn Stars proved to be too much for them, taking a 47-35 victory.
The game started off going goal for goal, but Stars capitalised on the Dragons shooters misfiring to extend their lead.
Despite Dragons stepping up and winning the third quarter, Stars enjoyed a 14-8 run in the final 12 minutes to secure a comfortable win.
In the penultimate match of Sunday, Wasps made a quick start against London Pulse to secure a 49-37 win.
Wasps capitalised on turnovers and the ball flowed through the court in attack, something they struggled with in their previous game against Celtic Dragons.
Pulse grew in confidence and remained sharp in defence but could not close the gap that Wasps had gained in the first half.
London Pulse continued again in the action on Monday night to gain a vital 41-36 win against Severn Stars.
A confident start and strong first half performance from the London franchise meant Stars struggled to find a way through the court in attack.
The defensive pressure from Funmi Fadoju, Zara Everitt and Halimat Adio proved to be too much for Stars and despite winning the third and fourth quarters, they could not close the gap enough to come out with the win.
In the final game Manchester Thunder rounded off a perfect weekend after beating Loughborough Lightning, they saw out a 59-37 result against Saracens Mavericks.
Thunder were fast out of the blocks with strong connections working at both ends of the court and although pressure from Mavericks increased, Thunder stood strong and continued to add to their tally to see them move back up into the top four in the table.
Manchester Thunder head coach Karen Greig said: “Mavericks and Loughborough are both top quality sides that are going to be pushing that top four, so it was important we put out professional performances and back ourselves and I felt like we did that.”
Rounds 10 and 11 begin on Friday night with Strathclyde Sirens taking on Loughborough Lightning and Leeds Rhinos playing Team Bath.
The action continues all weekend with Surrey Storm playing Strathclyde Sirens, Team Bath against London Pulse and Celtic Dragons playing Loughborough Lightning.
There are another three games on Sunday 11th April with Manchester Thunder looking to continue their good run against Surrey Storm, Celtic Dragons against Wasps and Severn Stars take on Saracens Mavericks.
If that wasn’t enough this double header continues on Monday 12th April with Wasps taking on Saracens Mavericks and Leeds Rhinos playing Manchester Thunder.