Vitality Roses in Focus: VNSL Rounds Seven & Eight and ANZ Round One

Natalie Panagarry of Loughborough Lightning during the game between Loughborough Lightning and Wasps Netball at Loughborough University, Loughborough, England on 13 March 2021. Credit: Ben Lumley

Fans were treated to a double header as the Vitality Netball Superleague reached Rounds Seven and Eight over the weekend, while the 2022 ANZ Premiership season got underway.

Vitality Rose George Fisher and her Southern Steel teammates got their ANZ campaign off to the perfect start.

They made a statement of intent in their opening match as they beat last season’s runners-up Tactix Netball 54-71 in Christchurch and Fisher scooped the MVP accolade.

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In the Vitality Netball Superleague, Manchester Thunder and Loughborough Lightning both continued their unbeaten starts.

Captain Laura Malcolm guided the 2019 champions to their seventh win with a 69-45 victory over derby rivals Leeds Rhinos.

Natalie Metcalf provided 33 feeds for her teammates with Eleanor Cardwell capitalising and once again clinical in the circle.

Lightning, led by Natalie Panagarry, struck twice with back-to-back wins to maintain their 100 percent record.

The defending champions, whose side also featured Vitality Roses Beth Cobden, Fran Williams, Ella Clark and Hannah Joseph, came from behind in both fixtures, securing a 57-53 victory over Wasps and following that up with a 44-53 win away to Team Bath.

Roses Futures Olivia Tchine, Zara Everitt, Kira Rothwell and Funmi Fadoju were also double winners as London Pulse further showcased their top four credentials.

After scoring 36 goals, Tchine was named Player of the Match as they came out on top – 56-50 – against Surrey Storm.

They then took maximum points again as they overcame visitors Strathclyde Sirens 48-38.

Saracens Mavericks endured mixed fortunes as they were involved in two of the closest contested matches of the rounds.

Having not beaten Strathclyde Sirens since Round 18 in the 2019 season, Razia Quashie played a key role with five intercepts, four deflections and six turnovers to help edge Mavericks to a 48-45 victory.

After a quick turnaround, they found themselves on the wrong end of a tight contest as they were pipped 55-53 by Surrey Storm.

Aside from their defeat to Loughborough Lightning, Team Bath also put some all-important points on the board over the weekend thanks to a 59-43 win against Celtic Dragons with Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (14 goals and 11 feeds) named Player of the Match.

Before their defeat to Manchester Thunder, Leeds Rhinos also kept their points tally ticking over with Roses Futures Sienna Rushton and Brie Grierson along with Vitality Roses Jade Clarke and Vicki Oyesola securing a 49-53 victory over Severn Stars in an entertaining game.

You can buy tickets for your local Vitality Netball Superleague team here.

Tickets for the Vitality Netball Superleague Spring Showdown are available here.

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