Manchester Thunder and Team Bath Netball will both go into their showdown on Monday off the back of impressive Vitality Netball Superleague victories.
In the second game of the day on Sunday, Karen Greig’s outfit overpowered London Pulse before Anna Stembridge’s side kept Wasps at bay.
The two title contenders will now duel against each other on Monday night, before Rhinos, who also shone on Sunday, return to court to take on Wasps.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Rounds 13 and 14
|Friday||Surrey Storm 39-48 Celtic Dragons|
|Friday||Saracens Mavericks 47-55 Loughborough Lightning|
|Saturday||Surrey Storm 39-45 Severn Stars|
|Saturday||London Pulse 38-48 Strathclyde Sirens|
|Saturday||Saracens Mavericks 59-39 Celtic Dragons|
|Sunday||Strathclyde Sirens 51-69 Leeds Rhinos Netball|
|Sunday||London Pulse 42-50 Manchester Thunder|
|Sunday||Team Bath Netball 41-37 Wasps|
|Monday at 5.15pm||Manchester Thunder vs Team Bath Netball||Live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix|
|Mondat at 7.15pm||Leeds Rhinos Netball vs Wasps||Live on Sky Sports Arena and Mix|
Thunder finish strongly to beat Pulse
Manchester Thunder overcame a strong test from London Pulse to start their time at the Copper Box Arena on a winning note with a 50-42 win.
In the face of strong pressure, Karen Greig’s outfit remained composed and must now turn their attentions on the task of meeting Bath on Monday.
For Pulse, despite the final result not going their way, the whole outfit produced a much stronger performance and head coach Sam Bird was “delighted” that her team showed their potential and resilience.
Throughout the first quarter, Pulse asked questions of the 2019 champions. Halimat Adio put in a captain’s performance and provided her side with ample turnover ball.
With a new attacking combination of Adean Thomas, Lefebre Rademan and Olivia Tchine clicking well, Pulse kept Thunder in check before being disrupted by an ankle injury to Thomas.
During the time it took them to settle, Thunder showed their clinical edge. Karen Greig’s settled seven worked hard from post-to-post, as Eleanor Cardwell and Joyce Mvula showed their trademark accuracy, and they moved five goals ahead before half-time.
At the start of the third, Pulse relaxed again while Thunder also continued to look confidently at goal.
Yet again, an injury interrupted proceedings – this time to Adio – and she left the court in some distress. Having learnt from earlier in the match, Pulse settled back into their groove instantly and closed the gap to two.
However, once again the 2019 champions timed their run well and with captain Emma Dovey back on the court, and they went into three-quarter time 37-33 up.
In the final quarter, Thunder finally took hold of the fixture and broke Pulse’s impressive resistance. They used their defensive intensity to put their foot on the gas and accelerated away from the home team.
Bath keep Wasps at bay
Once again Team Bath Netball showed their title credentials with a 41-37 triumph over two-time Superleague champions Wasps.
With both teams returning to court on Monday night, they will need to analyse their work and recovery quickly. For Bath, a meeting with Thunder awaits while Wasps will face Rhinos in the final game of Round 14.
Bath gained the early advantage through the defensive prowess of Imogen Allison and Layla Guscoth, and they held a three-goal advantage at the first pause.
Kim Borger was already finding her feet in the shooting circle, meaning that Wasps changed Josie Huckle for Ella Powell-Davies midway through the first quarter.
Huckle returned for the second and Wasps kept their opponents in check, despite Guscoth coming to the fore and really showing her worth.
|Team Bath Netball||13||8||12||8||41|
With both teams looking to push on in the ‘championship quarter’, Bath kept their seven the same while Wasps introduced Gezelle Allison at GA.
The Jamaican international’s presence meant that Mel Mansfield’s outfit were able to add greater variety into their attack-end. Although they never went away, and won the last quarter, Bath stayed composed and their early hard work got them over the line.
Confident Rhinos down Sirens
Leeds Rhinos Netball delivered a ruthless performance to ease past Strathclyde Sirens on Sunday lunchtime.
After their triumph over Saracens Mavericks, Dan Ryan said that another victory was important to show that Rhinos weren’t a “one-hit wonder”, and they’ll now test themselves against Wasps on Monday.
For Sirens, it was a difficult day at the office overall. Despite working well in attack, they struggled defensively and just weren’t able to put any pressure on Rhinos.
|Leeds Rhinos Netball||17||19||20||13||69|
From the opening moments, Rhinos’ shooter Donnell Wallam asserted herself. The Australian, who continues to return from a broken arm, commanded the circle and put up shot after shot with ease.
With Towera Vinkhumbo not able to start for Sirens due to a knee niggle, and not enough pressure being put on player of the match Brie Grierson or centre Jade Clarke, Ryan’s outfit flew in attack.
They created a nine-goal lead at half-time and maintained their form for the second half, even when personnel changes were made.
Vinkhumbo’s arrival towards the end of the third quarter provided a boost for Sirens, but by that time, victory was well beyond their reach and little could be done to claw Rhinos back in.
Read More: Sports News