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Vitality Netball Superleague 2021: Rounds One and Two Recap

The Vitality Netball Superleague returned on Friday 12 February with rounds one and two taking place over four days at Production Park Studio 001.

The teamwork shown between players, coaches, staff and volunteers helped to get the season up and running with fans able to enjoy every pass, goal and intercept live on Sky Sports.

Here’s your recap of all the action…

Newcomers Leeds Rhinos announced their arrival to the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) in style as they secured a comfortable 35-65 victory over Celtic Dragons.

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All 12 players took to court for Dan Ryan’s side with Vitality Rose Jade Clarke asserting her authority on the game and being named Vitality Player of the Match.

Defending champions Manchester Thunder overcame an early scare to get their campaign off to a winning start against Strathclyde Sirens.

The Scottish outfit flew out the traps and were ahead at the end of the opening quarter, but Karen Greig’s team dominated from there on to run out 53-36 winners with Laura Malcolm scooping the Vitality Player of the Match accolade.

Saturday’s opening game went down to the wire as Surrey Storm edged out London Pulse 40-42, in part thanks to a standout debut from Roses Academy long squad athlete Sophie Kelly who took the Vitality Player of the Match award.

It could have gone either way as the lead see-sawed and both sides left everything out on court, but Mikki Austin’s side held their nerve to see out the tense closing stages and take maximum points.

Five-time champions Team Bath Netball made their mark as they inflicted Celtic Dragons’ second defeat in the space of as many days.

Anna Stembridge’s team accelerated away from their opponents to lead 31-15 at half time and didn’t relent in the second half with Betsy Creak selected as Vitality Player of the Match as they impressed with a 61-29 victory.

Strathclyde Sirens got off the mark for 2021 in their second outing of the season after coming out on top in a closely-fought contest with Severn Stars.

They faced strong defensive pressure from Melissa Bessell’s team but recorded a 36-30 win with Taylor Cullen being named Vitality Player of the Match for the first time.

Less than 24 hours after their first match, Team Bath Netball were back on court again to launch Sunday’s action as they saw off the threat of Loughborough Lightning to make it two wins from two.

The Blue and Gold were mightily pushed by Sara Bayman’s side with the score tied 25-25 at halftime as Vitality Rose Beth Cobden made her return to the VNSL at wing defence for Lightning.

However, her England co-captain Serena Guthrie produced a performance that saw her named Vitality Player of the Match and helped inspire Team Bath to a thrilling 48-44 win.

Saracens Mavericks began their VNSL campaign with a 53-41 triumph over Surrey Storm as Commonwealth Games champion Kadeen Corbin was awarded Vitality Player of the Match.

The Mavericks goaler powered her team to victory against a fatigued Storm side who struggled in their second match of the weekend.

Two-time champions Wasps Netball made an impressive start to their season as they overcame Severn Stars 53-43.

Vitality Roses centurion Rachel Dunn was in excellent form for Wasps as she collected the Vitality Player of the Match award.

The result could have been even more emphatic had Stars not continued to fight until the very end as they showed promise ahead of their next match.

Loughborough narrowly secured a 44-43 win over Wasps Netball on the final day of the opening VNSL weekend.

It appeared to be a battle of the shooters for much of the game, with Mary Cholhok for Lightning (who proudly accepted the Vitality Player of the Match award) and Rachel Dunn for Wasps going goal for goal.

And finally, it was Saracens Mavericks who came out on top, wrapping up round 1 and 2 with a nail biting contest against Leeds Rhinos.

The score couldn’t have been closer for the majority of the game but Saracens Mavericks scraped a 43-39 victory in the end.

Rhea Dixon collected the Vitality Player of the Match award after her performance on court alongside her Rhinos teammates.

Sky Sports pundit Tamsin Greenway said: “I thought it was really important that Rhea Dixon got Player of the Match because I thought her and Brie Grierson and (Vicki) Oyesola kept them (Rhinos) in the game.”

Watch all of the weekend’s action back on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel!

Head to the Vitality Netball Superleague website for upcoming fixture details.

Follow England Netball on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube for the latest news and content.

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