The Vitality Netball Superleague edged ever closer to the halfway stage as Round 9 took place while the ANZ Premiership continued over the weekend.
Vitality Rose Gabby Marshall took the first centre pass in the game between Saracens Mavericks and Leeds Rhinos.
It was Rhinos who asserted themselves early on in the match, Roses Future Sienna Rushton scored the first goal of the fixture and with just under five minutes played, they led 6-0.
Mavericks responded and narrowed the gap in the scoreline but they were still trailing at the end of the first quarter (10-14).
Despite Vitality Rose Razia Quashie’s contribution of five intercepts and five turnovers for Mavericks, Rushton continued to make an impact in the circle and totalled 28 goals for Rhinos, who went on to win the match by two (51-53).
It was another highly-anticipated fixture as London Pulse travelled to the Belle Vue Arena to face Manchester Thunder. Both sides had enjoyed a magnificent run of form heading into the fixture with Pulse having won their last five games and Thunder yet to be beaten.
Thunder sported two Vitality Roses in their starting seven: Natalie Metcalf and captain Laura Malcolm.
Pulse began the match with three Roses Futures on the court: Zara Everitt, Funmi Fadoju and Olivia Tchine.
Metcalf’s presence in the final third was felt by Pulse throughout the match as her playmaking led to 17 feeds for her side.
Malcolm also displayed a great all-round performance in the centre, with six feeds, two intercepts and four crucial deflections.
Pulse’s Tchine scored 40 for her side and at the other end of the court, Fadoju made her presence known, notching up eight deflections and nine turnovers.
Despite the determination from the young London side, they couldn’t quite push the scoreline in their favour and ended the match narrowly trailing by three (51-48).
Vitality Roses Technical Coach Liana Leota took the first centre pass as Severn Stars hosted unbeaten side Loughborough Lightning in their Saturday night fixture. At the close of the first quarter, Stars were leading by one goal (18-17).
Leota displayed excellent vision and ability from the offset and totalled 26 feeds for her side but despite Stars’ efforts, they struggled to maintain the pressure against an in-form Lightning side.
Lightning’s performance improved throughout the last three quarters of the fixture as they began to look more settled on the ball and worked in some fluid passing combinations with the help of Hannah Joseph’s 26 feeds into the centre and four deflections by Beth Cobden.
Ella Clark made a big impact on the match, recording 15 goals and 25 feeds into the circle which contributed to Lightning’s win (56-70).
In Sunday evening’s fixture between Wasps and Team Bath Netball, it was Wasps who came out on top, winning the match 62-50.
Team Bath couldn’t quite find their rhythm against a confident Wasps side and even with the determination of Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, they only scored more than their opponents in one out of the four quarters.
Round nine’s Monday Night Netball saw Surrey Storm face Wasps but the Midlands outfit struggled to capitalise on the success of the previous day’s fixture and were beaten 67-59.
On the other side of the world in the second round of the ANZ Premiership, George Fisher’s side Southern Steel faced 2021 champions Northern Mystics.
Fisher scored 83% of her total attempts and netted 24 goals for her side. Despite converting well, it was Northern Mystics who eventually took the win in this high-scoring matchup (50-70).
Written by Toby Hinds