NS SCOREBOARD: VNSL Rounds 1 & 2

NS SCOREBOARD: VNSL Rounds 1 & 2

By |2021-04-07T05:43:04+10:00February 16th, 2021|Categories: Match Reviews, UK, VNSL|Tags: |0 Comments

Compiled by Zara Collings, Iona St Joseph, Bethany Lord, Daisy Cotterill, Eve Cobbett, Rona Hunnisett and Ian Harkin

 

The Superleague is back!

By Zara Collings

After 335 days, the Vitality Netball Superleague really did come back with a bang this weekend as eleven teams took to court across a bumper 10 matches, all of which were live streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel in a historical first for the league. With 12 minute quarters, match day squads of 12 and the potential for games to end in a draw, the rules were slightly different this year, but the intensity brought to the court most certainly was not. Whilst we saw a few teams show some first match nerves, the joy and excitement of being back on court was clear.  

All teams came out firing, but it was Team Bath and Saracens Mavericks who managed to secure their first two wins of the season. Bath put out two clinical and well structured performances, demonstrating why they had been tipped for finals by so many. Mavericks had a strong win against the Stars, but struggled against an injury-ridden Rhinos, pulling away only in the last quarter to win by four.

At the other end of the table, both Severn Stars and Celtic Dragons will be heading back to the drawing board, ending the bumper weekend with no wins from two matches. Both these teams certainly showed periods of brilliance, with Lucy Hermann shining in the GK position for Stars and turning over the most ball of all the weekend’s matches with a massive ten gains in her game against Wasps. However, both teams were exposed by the lack of a Plan B and will need to come into round three with increased intensity.

Rookie of the Round: 

With many players making their league debut across the weekend, there was no shortage of strong contenders for the first Rookie of the Round award. Game day squads of 12 and rolling subs allowed more youngsters than ever to take to the court and much like the 2020 SSN season, we saw a whole host of talent that would likely not have broken on to the stage for another year or so under normal circumstances. 

However, at sixteen years old, Sophie Kelly was a sure pick, shooting 18/22 at 82% against veteran defender Lindsay Keeble and English Rose Halimat Adio, coming away with the Player of the Match award on debut. Starting Storm GA Emma Magee went down early in the first quarter with an ankle injury and Kelly was thrust on to the stage, where Storm’s attack did not skip a beat. Her awareness in the circle and ability to combine and work with Bailey was commendable and with more court time, conditioning and experience, could go very far indeed, already demonstrating the netball smarts and composure necessary to compete at elite level. 

An honourable mention has to go to Donnell Wallam, who put up an incredible 50 shots in her first elite level match at 96% and showed us all why Dan Ryan pulled her from the other side of the world to join his inaugural Rhinos squad. Her fluid movement across the circle and ability to mix up her starting position was impressive for someone who stands at 190cm tall. After going down early with an injury to her arm in the Rhinos match against Mavericks, it will be vital for Rhinos that Wallam is fit ahead of their next match against Storm. 

Jas Odeogberin also provided plenty of excitement, making an immediate impact when she came on for Lightning in the second quarter against Team Bath and Wasps, picking up plenty of ball and generally causing havoc in the Lightning defensive end. 

As the rounds go on, the depth and conditioning of squads will be tested, with many franchises playing double headers across this opening weekend and both Storm and Dragon’s backing this up with a further two matches in Round 3. With four players already leaving the court due to injury in Rounds 1&2, player management and squad rotation will be put to the test as we see the 2021 VNSL league table begin to take shape.


Stats Leaders of the Week

Most Goals:
50 Donnell Wallam (Rhinos v Dragons)

Most Gains:
10 Lucy Herdman (Stars v Wasps)

Most Offensive Rebounds:
5 Donnell Wallam (Rhinos v Dragons)

Most Defensive Rebounds:
6 Lucy Herdman (Stars v Wasps)

Most Intercepts:
8 Halimat Adio (Pulse v Storm)


Injuries/unavailability

Emma Magee, Surrey Storm – ankle injury in Q1 vs Pulse and made no return to court
Tuaine Keenan, Leeds Rhinos – ankle injury in Q1 vs Mavericks and made no return to court
Donnell Wallam, Leeds Rhinos – arm/wrist injury in Q2 vs Mavericks and made no return to court
Fi Toner, Leeds Rhinos – ankle/leg injury in Q3 vs Mavericks and made no return to court

Layla Gusgoth unavailable for both Bath matches
Ella Clark unavailable for both Lighting matches
Ine-Marie Venter unavailable for both Mavericks matches
Gabby Marshall unavailable both Mavericks matches

 

Leeds Rhinos created history with a convincing win over Celtic Dragons in their first foray into Vitality Netball Super League. Photo Credit: England Netball

RESULTS

LEEDS RHINOS 65 def CELTIC DRAGONS 35

Dragons:
Amy Clinton 24/27 (89%)
Rebekah Robinson 9/12 (75%)
Laura Rudland 2/2 (100%)
TOTAL 35/41 (85%)

Gains 6 (Abby Tyrrell 3)

Rhinos:
Donnell Wallam 50/52 (96%)
Rhea Dixon 14/20 (70%)
Sienna Rushton 1/3 (33%)
TOTAL 65/75 (87%)

Gains 19 (Tuaine Keenan 6)

Player of the Match: Jade Clarke (Rhinos)

Australia’s Donnell Wallam of Leeds Rhinos during the Vitality Super League match between Celtic Dragons and Leeds Rhinos. Photo Credit: England Netball

Match Report: Celtic Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos

By Eve Cobbett

Well, that was fun wasn’t it? After 335 days without elite netball the Vitality Netball Super League finally returned, and I think I speak for all of us when I say it did not disappoint!

Who dominated?

Rhinos started the day as the new kids on the block and ended it as real contenders. Whilst Jade Clarke picked up her first player of the match of 2021, Rhinos should be congratulated for putting out a phenomenal full team performance. After the game Clarke commented that Rhinos are not a team with “loads of stars but we all want to work together”. And work together they did. This was a team performance, with each player making their teammates look great.

What worked?

Rhinos’ full-court defence was especially impressive, the whole team working as a unit to pick up several intercepts before the ball was anywhere near their defensive end. Jade Clarke and Fi Toner’s persistent hassling was especially effective. With the duo’s hands over every ball it became easier and easier for Vicki Oyesola, Tuaine Keenan and later on Paige Kindred to pick off poor balls, with Rhinos finishing the game with a huge 13 intercepts and 6 deflections.

Up the other end the Australian import we’ve all been desperate to see in action, Donnell Wallam, absolutely shone. Being relatively new to the game there were some question marks over how she would go, with her and Annika Lee-Jones noted as a key match-up pre-game. It’s safe to say Wallam quieted any doubts over her quality over the 48 minutes. She put up a huge volume of shots, 50 out of Rhinos’ 65, shooting at 96% accuracy. But more impressive than that was her ball handling. The moment of the game was Wallam’s reverse touch to pull in the ball whilst under huge pressure from Lee-Jones. There’s no doubt Wallam is going to be a key player in Rhino’s hunt for their first title.

Having said this, Wallam shone because her teammates allowed her to. Rhea Dixon in particular should be praised for her willingness to come out of the circle, freeing up the space, and most importantly making it obvious to Wallam herself where she needed to hold. Dixon was quick, with superb vision. Her and Brie Grierson’s use of the pockets carved up Dragons’ defence, making it unclear to Dragons how to set up to stop them.

What needs improvement?

In her post-match interview Dragons’ Tania Hoffman commented on the height of her midcourt players, suggesting as short players they needed to position themselves in front of their players and come towards the ball. Whilst there was a recurring issue of the Dragons’ midcourt running away from the ball, often only presenting one option, there was much to be praised in the speed and grit of the centre-court. Although by the end of quarter one the score had already blown out to an eight goal difference, not once did Dragons’ centre-court give up. This spirit and positive attitude is going to be vital in closer games.

Another area this Dragons team can take positives from is down their shooting end. Both Amy Clinton and Rebekah Robinson had good games, shooting at a respectable 83% and undoubtedly leading their team out on court. With Robinson up against England Roses’ rising star Oyesola it was always going to be a tough day at the office, however both her accuracy and movement in the circle, along with the connection between both shooters, impressed today. If the Dragons shooting end can start putting up a higher volume of shots, aided by the fighting spirit of their centre-court, they will have a good chance of picking up points this season.

Where was it won?

For me, Rhinos won this game as they were well organised and disciplined. Dan Ryan has clearly spent a lot of time in preseason making sure every player is aware of what their job is and how to do it, and it certainly paid off.

Fi Toner was pest in defence for the Leeds Rhinos. Photo: England Netball

Where was it lost?

Unfortunately, defence was undoubtedly the biggest issue for Dragons, and arguably what lost them the game. Whilst they clearly have the talent, both Lee-Jones and Abby Tyrrell seemed unsure of their defensive structures, with Dragons only coming away with 2 intercepts and 2 deflections for the game. With Dixon often leaving the circle, but Wallam camped under the post, Tyrrell seemed unclear whether she should drop back to support Lee-Jones or stick man-on with Dixon. This uncertainty left her in no man’s land on numerous occasions. This is the start of a long season and Dragons’ defensive connections will only get stronger with every game. I doubt it will be long until we see Lee-Jones finding her feet and the confidence to come out for more intercepts.

When was it lost?

In the end, this was a tale of two stories. Whilst Rhinos put out a confident whole team performance, Dragons struggled to find their connections, relying on certain players to see them through. Unfortunately for Dragons by the end of the 2nd quarter they had left themselves with too much to do, going into the second half 17-29 down. Although the scoreboard did not reflect it being only 12 goals down, by half-time Dragons had allowed Rhinos to gain too much confidence on the feed to Wallam, making their shooting end pretty unstoppable.

How did she do that?

There’s nothing more uplifting for a team than an attacker getting a huge intercept after losing the ball, and it was Brie Grierson who delivered the goods in this match. With a minute left on the clock in the 3rd quarter Grierson managed to get a finger tip to a weak pass, attempting to catch the ball and eventually flicking it towards teammate Oyesola to ensure Rhinos got the intercept without a replay call. Not only was it a delightful intercept, but It was proof of the Rhinos players’ hunger to get their hands on every ball, even when leading by 26, and their ability to work together as a unit to force mistakes.

Starting lineups:

Dragons: GS Clinton, GA Robinson, WA O’Dwyer, C Jones, WD Shaw, GD Tyrrell, GK Lee-Jones
Rhinos: GS Wallam, GA Dixon, WA Grierson, C Clarke, WD Toner, GD Oyesola, GK Keenan

Umpires: Gary Burgess and Rachel Radford


Manchester Thunder’s defence was almost impenetrable for the Strathclyde Sirens. Photo: England Netball

MANCHESTER THUNDER 53 def STRATHCLYDE SIRENS 36

Sirens:
Lynsey Gallagher 17/20 (85%)
Bethan Goodwin 13/20 (65%)
Emma Barrie 6/6 (100%)
TOTAL 36/46 (78%)

Gains 4 (Towera Vinkhumbo 2)

Thunder:
Joyce Mvula 24/26 (92%)
Ellie Cardwell 18/21 (86%)
Lois Pearson 6/6 (100%)
Berri Neil 5/6 (83%)
TOTAL 53/59 (90%)

Gains 13 (Rebekah Airey 5)

Player of the Match: Laura Malcolm (Thunder)


Sophie Kelly had a dream VNSL debut for Surrey Storm during their win over London Pulse. Photo: England Netball

SURREY STORM 42 def LONDON PULSE 40

Pulse:
Sigi Burger 26/27 (96%)
Olivia Tschine 7/10 (70%)
Lefebre Rademan 4/8 (50%)
Kira Rothwell 3/4 (75%)
TOTAL 40/49 (82%)

Gains 12 (Halimat Adio 7)

Storm:
Karyn Bailey 23/24 (96%)
Sophie Kelly 18/22 (82%)
Emma Magee 1/1 (100%)
TOTAL 42/47 (89%)

Gains 7 (Leah Middleton 3, Alima Priest 3)

Player of the Match: Sophie Kelly (Storm)


Betsy Creak of Team Bath played an impressive game against Celtic Dragons. Photo: England Netball

TEAM BATH NETBALL 61 def CELTIC DRAGONS 29

Bath:
Betsy Creak 22/26 (85%)
Kim Borger 20/24 (83%)
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis 19/21 (90%)
TOTAL 61/71 (86%)

Gains 19 (Serena Guthrie 4)

Dragons:
Amy Clinton 22/25 (88%)
Rebekah Robinson 7/11 (64%)
TOTAL 29/36 (81%)

Gains 2 (Annika Lee-Jones 2)

Player of the Match: Betsy Creak (Bath)


One of the closer matches of the opening rounds between Strathclyde Sirens and Serven Stars. Photo: England Netball

STRATHCLYDE SIRENS 36 def SEVERN STARS 30

Sirens:
Bethan Goodwin 14/18 (78%)
Lynsey Gallagher 15/17 (88%)
Emma Barrie 7/8 (88%)
TOTAL 36/41 88%

Stars:
Georgia Rowe 24/24 (100%)
Paige Reed 5/8 (56%)
Jane Taylor 1/1 (100%)
TOTAL 30/33 (91%)

Player of the Match: Taylor Cullen (Sirens)


Happy to be back on court after such a long hiatus. Photo: England Netball

Match Report: Sirens vs Stars

By Iona St Joseph

Despite coming into this game off the back of a loss to Manchester Thunder on Friday, there were a lot of positives for the Strathclyde Sirens to build on, particularly their strong first quarter performance, as they faced Severn Stars in the Stars’ first game of the season.

Stars captain Liana Leota kicks off the season after a strong performance in the All Stars series against England and she continues to be one to watch in 2021.

Who dominated?

If you’d asked me at half time, I would have struggled to predict a winner. There were errors from both sides, but ultimately it was the Sirens whose through-court connections won them this game.

There wasn’t much separating the two teams throughout and quarter score breakdown shows how close this game was with the Sirens winning each quarter by just one or two goals. The Scottish side pulled out to a 10-goal lead at one point in the final quarter, showing some dominance across the court, but Stars came back and cut the final lead to six goals.

What worked?

There were positives across the court from Sirens, from Towera Vinkhumbo creating uncertainty in the minds of the Stars feeders, to the attacking connections in the Sirens shooting end. You can tell that players like Bethan Goodwin, Nicola McCleery and Lynsey Gallagher have been playing together and developing those playing relationships for a number of years now, and Gallagher’s cool head in the shooting end meant a smooth transition from circle edge to goal.

The Stars defence end performed well too, with Lucy Herdman, who has switched ends of the court and is now plying her trade at Goal Keeper, and Wing Defence Nia Jones both picking up some great intercepts with continued pressure on the Sirens shooters.

What needs improvement?

There were a number of errors from both teams. The second half saw three minutes tick down on the clock before either team scored a goal, and just when you thought the game might be starting to swing one way, mistakes from both sides meant that it was close throughout. After almost a year out of the game, it’s not surprising that there are a few errors creeping in. Combined with the excitement of being back out on court and getting used to playing together again, I would expect to see them ironed out as the weeks go on.

Where was it won?

The Sirens’ connections were what won it for them, despite what looked like a comeback from Stars in the second half. The cohesion in the shooting end with the level head of Lynsey Gallagher, Bethan Goodwin’s movement in the circle, and the feeds from McCleery and Abernethy which were on point. Kudos as well to the Sirens attacking end for the solid defensive pressure they put on any turnover ball, making it tricky for Stars to get the ball through court to their attacking end. Cullen and Vinkhumbo were relentless in defence, creating doubt in the minds of the Stars feeders around the edge of the circle.

Liana Leota played a solid game for the Stars but couldn’t quite push them over the line. Photo Credit: England Netball

Where was it lost?

Unfortunately for Stars there were just too many errors. Whilst there were moments of brilliance from Lucy Herdman at Goal Keeper, Leota’s no-look passes and Paige Reed’s agility in the circle helping to set up Georgia Rowe, the mistakes made through court proved to be too costly.

It’s hard to know how beneficial Sirens would have found having a game on Friday evening, allowing them to get back into the swing of that game day experience after a year out of competitive netball.

When was it won or lost?

It looked like the Stars were mounting a comeback in the second quarter, and they performed well in the third, cutting into the Sirens lead and ensuring that they were in touching distance of five goals going into the final quarter.

In truly clichéd sporting terms, the game could have gone either way almost throughout, but it was Sirens who kept their foot on the gas in that final quarter pushing out to a 10 goal lead, thanks to the introduction of holding shooter Emma Barrie into the shooting circle, with five minutes left on the clock.

A momentum shift in favour of the Stars came in the final minutes, capitalising on a footwork error from Cullen, but it just wasn’t enough and Sirens held on to win 36 -30.

Gia Abernethy of Strathclyde Sirens was an impressive link across the court. Photo Credit: England Netball

How did she do that?

The Sirens defensive end stoot out for me in this game, and Wing Defence Taylor Cullen deservedly earned the Player of the Match award. She matched Liana Leota for speed throughout the whole game, which, as we know, is no easy task. Her constant presence and dogged determination were what created doubt in the mind of the Stars’ feeders, helping secure her side the win.

Starting lineups:

Sirens: GS Goodwin, GA Gallagher, WA McCleery, C Abernethy, WD Cullen, GD Nicholl, GK Vinkhumbo
Stars: GS Rowe, GA Reed, WA Leota, C Dyke, WD Jones, GD Bolakoro, GS Herdman


Imogen Alison taking an impressive picket intercept for Team Bath against Loughborough Lightning. Photo: England Netball

TEAM BATH NETBALL 48 def  LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING 44

Bath: 
Kim Borger 28/31 (90%)
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis 20/23 (86%)
TOTAL 48/54 (88%)

Gains 11 (Tash Pavelin 4)

Lightning:
Mary Cholhok 35/38 (92%)
Suzie Liverseige 9/10 (90%)
TOTAL 44/48 (91%)

Gains 10 (Alice Harvey 4)

Player of the Match: Serena Guthrie (Bath)


Match Report – Bath vs Lightning

By Rona Hunnisett

Who dominated?

Both teams were well matched through court, but for TeamBath, Serena Guthrie put in a typically livewire performance at C, recognising the need for an injection of pace and a different offer at the circle edge to break the stalemate at the start of the third quarter. Tash Pavelin was also impressive at GD for the South West side, working hard to close down the space available to Suzie Liverseidge, and shutting her out of the game effectively midway through the second quarter.

What worked?

TeamBath’s connections through court were slick and, in the main, effective. Of particular note was the side’s speedy rotational circle, with Borger using baseline drives and Drakeford-Lewis pulling defenders forwards with swift front cuts towards the feeder to split the defence.

What needs improvement?

Without Ella Clark’s height and vision, Loughborough seemed strangely hesitant in releasing the first-time ball in to their Ugandan shooter Mary Cholhok. Delays allowed Bath’s defenders time to reposition and contest the ball into the circle – on the occasion when a midcourter released straight into the circle, Cholhok used her strength to draw the ball in but it was noticeable that her connection with Liversidge was still a work in progress.

Where was it won?

In a game of two evenly balanced teams, incremental gains were what shifted momentum to the five time former champions. During the game, TeamBath’s ability to make repeated offers to the ball in attack and smothering defence, which forced a lifted ball into the pocket for a potential interception wore down Loughborough’s attack, eventually leading to Lightning’s perennial WA Hannah Joseph to be benched.

When was it won?

At the start of the third quarter, TeamBath’s midcourt upped the pressure, with Rachel Shaw, Guthrie and Allison forcing Loughborough into long leads away from the ball carrier. The resulting aerial ball could be more easily picked up by the Bath defence, and with Eboni Usoru-Brown working her way into the game and closing down space for the Loughborough shooters, momentum swung to TeamBath. The former champions established a four goal lead at the end of the third quarter which they held to the final whistle.

How did she do that?

Jaz Odeogberin’s debut for Loughborough was marked by an impressive midcourt interception almost as soon as she came onto court. But the main “how?” points came as a result of Sophie Drakeford Lewis’ impressive timing to drive into the circle at the perfect moment to draw the defenders away from GS Borger. Time and again she seemed to almost float into the circle, with her deceptive turn of speed leaving Lightning’s defence floundering in her wake.

Starting line ups:

Bath: GS Borger, GA Drakeford Lewis, WA J Shaw, C Guthrie, WD Allison, GD Pavelin, GK Artman
Changes: Q3 WA R Shaw, GK Usoro-Brown

Lightning: GS Cholhok, GA Liversidge, WA Joseph, C Panagarry, WD Cobden, GD May, GK Harvey
Changes: Q2 (during) GD Odeogberin, Q3 WA Williams, Q4 May to WD, (during)Williams to C, WA Joseph

Umpires Gary Burgess and Louise Travis


Saracen Mavericks got a convincing win over Surrey Storm. Photo: England Netball

SARACENS MAVERICKS 54 def SURREY STORM 40

Storm:
Karyn Bailey 27/29 (93%)
Frankie Wells 7/7 (100%)
Sophie Kelly 6/10 (60%)
TOTAL 40/46 (87%)

Gains 8 (Alima Priest 3)

Mavericks:
Kadeen Corbin 25/27 (93%)
Chloe Essam 19/25 (76%)
Brittany Pringle-Clark 10/10 (100%)
TOTAL 54/62 (87%)

Gains 12 (Jo Tripp 4, Razia Quashie 4)

Player of the Match: Kadeen Corbin (Mavericks)


Josie Huckle of Wasps Netball helped her team secure the biggest win of the weekend over Severn Stars. Photo: England Netball

WASPS 53 def SEVERN STARS 34

Stars:
Georgia Rowe 23/25 (92%)
Paige Reid 6/10 (60%)
Jane Taylor 5/8 (63%)
TOTAL 34/43 (79%)

Gains 14 (Lucy Herdman 10)

Wasps:
Rachel Dunn 32/35 (92%)
Katie Harris 17/22 (82%)
Gizelle Allison 4/6 (72%)
TOTAL 53/63 (84%)

Gains 22 (Fran Williams 9)

Player of the Match: Rachel Dunn (Wasps)


Lightning defeated Wasps in the closest game of the round.  Photo: England Netball

LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING 44 def WASPS 43

Lightning:
Mary Cholhok 39/41 (95%)
Suzie Liverseige 5/7 (71%)
Lucy Parize 0/1 (90%)
TOTAL 44/49 (90%)

Gains 13 (Samantha May 5)

Wasps:
Rachel Dunn 26/30 (87%)
Katie Harris 13/15 (87%)
Gezelle Allison 4/6 (67%)
TOTAL 43/51 (84%)

Gains 8 (Amy Flanagan 3, Francesca Williams 3)

Player of the Match: Mary Cholhok (Lightning)


Match Report – Lightning v Wasps

By Ian Harkin

What an exciting clash between these two great rivals, and it wasn’t decided until the final seconds. Thanks to a tremendous piece of play from one of their youngsters, Lightning eventually won 44-43 after trailing for most of the match.

Who dominated?

Mary Cholhok is getting better with each game she plays for Lightning. She is learning how to adjust to the feeds and put herself in the best positions to take advantage of her height. She is close to unstoppable if feeds are accurate. That wasn’t always the case in this match, but as the game wore on, her understanding with the Lightning midcourt grew, as did her combination with young shooting partner Suzie Liverseidge. Scoring 39 of Lightning’s 44 goals (many completed with a lay up), Cholhok was a worthy player of the match recipient. Sophia Candappa was Wasps’ best on court with a fine display, while Samantha May had another typically strong game in defence for Lightning.

What worked?

Tenacity and teamwork. That’s what saw Lightning come out on top. Throughout most of this game, Wasps held the upper hand. Not by much, but by enough that they looked the most likely winners. But Lightning simply wouldn’t go away. Whenever it looked as if Wasps were getting on top, the team in purple would fight back. Coach Sara Bayman made several tactical changes throughout the game, looking for an answer, and every Lightning player contributed something to the team. Her introduction of Lucy Parize at goal attack late in the game to replace Liverseidge, looked questionable when Parize missed her one and only shot at goal, but the young shooter would go on to repay her coach’s faith in the final minute.

What needs improvement?

There were numerous errors in this game from both sides. But many were simply caused by pressure. Both teams exhibited great hands over defence in this match, and there was barely an easy pass able to be made for the entire four quarters. Wasps will rue not just a costly last minute error, but several they made throughout the game, that perhaps they wouldn’t later in the season with more game time under their belts. Front runners for most of the match, it was these turnovers which kept allowing Lightning to get back into the game.

Where was it won and lost?

Composure. It’s strange to think that Lightning might have actually displayed more of this than the two time VNSL champions, but at crucial stages, some of Wasps’ decision making could have been better. That will surely improve as the season goes on, but for now, Lightning take the spoils of victory simply by remaining composed in the final minutes.

When was it won or lost?

With time running out in the fourth quarter, the game developed into a goal for goal battle. When Lightning scored their 43rd goal to tie things up, there were 38 seconds left for Wasps to firstly soak up some time, then calmly go down court and score the winning goal. At least that would have been the plan. But it came badly unstuck when young Lightning shooter Lucy Parize brilliantly intercepted an errant back pass from Wasps’ Gezelle Allison. Lightning was able to convert their opportunity and play out time for a dramatic victory. Allison shouldn’t be held responsible for the loss as that turnover of possession was far from the only one during the game. But it was certainly the one most people will remember.

How did she do that?

Wasps’ captain Sophia Candappa put on a terrific display in the midcourt. Her feeding was solid all game, but on one occasion, it was spectacular. With Wasps on attack during the last quarter, Candappa broke away from her direct opponent and leapt up to get on the end of a high cross-court pass. In her peripheral vision, she saw Lightning defender Sam May coming out of the circle to attempt to intercept. As quick as a flash, Candappa passed the ball sideways to a now unmarked Rachel Dunn under the post, while barely even looking at her. And while still in the air. All of that took very little time at all, but was so incredible to watch.

Starting lineups

Lightning: GS Cholhok, GA Liverseidge, WA Joseph, C Panagarry, WD Cobden, GD May, GK Harvey
Wasps: GS Dunn, GA Harris, WA Candappa, C Christian, WD Flanagan, GD Williams, GK Huckle


SARACENS MAVERICKS 43 def LEEDS RHINOS 39

Rhinos:
Donnell Wallam 15/15 (100%)
Sienna Rushton 15/19 (79%)
Rhea Dixon 9/12 (75%)
TOTAL 39/46 (85%)

Gains 6 (Paige Kindred 2, Vicky Oyesola 2)

Mavericks:
Brittany Pringle-Clark 23/24 (96%)
Kadeen Corbin 12/15 (80%)
Chloe Essam 8/10 (80%)
TOTAL 43/49 (88%)

Gains 12 (Razia Quashie 6)

Player of the Match: Rhea Dixon (Rhinos)


Kim Borger of ladder leaders Team Bath. Photo: England Netball

LADDER

(after round 2)

Team/Played/Points/Goal diff.

BATH . 2 . 6pts . +36
MAVERICKS . 2 . 6pts . +18
RHINOS . 2 . 3pts . +26
WASPS . 2 . 3pts . +18

THUNDER . 1 . 3pts . +17
LIGHTNING . 2 . 3pts . -3
SIRENS . 2 . 3pts . -11
STORM . 2 . 3pts . -12

PULSE . 1 . 0pts . -2
STARS . 2 . 0pts . -25
DRAGONS . 2 . 0pts . -62


COMING UP

Round 3 

Sunday 21st February
12 noon Surrey Storm v Leeds Rhinos
2pm Loughborough Lightning v Saracens Mavericks
4pm Celtic Dragons v Strathclyde Sirens
6pm Manchester Thunder v London Pulse

Monday 22nd February
5.15 Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm
7.15 Wasps v Team Bath Netball 

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