The Vitality Netball Superleague restarted this weekend in the UK with its Season Opener featuring all 11 teams, at the Resorts World Arena Birmingham.
Strathclyde Sirens, London Pulse, Saracens Mavericks, and Manchester Thunder were among the sides that secured victories during the opening weekend.
Sam Bird’s Pulse side had a tough opening weekend in the VNSL as they played both of last years finalists.
They opened their campaign on the Saturday as they faced defeat to Loughborough Lightning, but in their second match of the weekend and season they went on to beat last year’s 2nd place team, Team Bath, for the first time in their VNSL history.
Young Pulse player, and promising English talent, Funmi Fadoji was the standout player in that game, as her dominance in the defensive circle helped her side secure their first victory of the season 52-48.
Meanwhile, current reigning champions Loughborough Lightning only played the once this weekend in their 61-50 victory over Pulse.
Lightning and Ugandan shooter, Mary Cholhock, started the season where she left off as ‘Golden Shooter’, keeping her shooting stats high and producing one of her iconic basketball lay-ups in the second quarter.
As we predicted in our season preview Manchester Thunder’s attack was one to be reckoned with this weekend, with Malawi Queen Joyce Mvula teaming up with England Rose Eleanor Cardwell in the shooting circle, as they secured their first victory and a record score in the VNSL beating Celtic Dragons 79-53.
It was Cardwell who was awarded play of the match though, after scoring 37 goals and feeding in 14 more.
Finally, one more victory to highlight in the opening round was Strathclyde Sirens win over Wasps.
The Scottish side, full of Scottish Thistles talent, came away from their first match having lost to last year finalists Team Bath by 14 goals, but then showed exactly what they were capable of on day two as they beat Wasps 44-50.
It was the impressive dominant defensive display from Taylor McKevitt, who was awarded player of the match, Malawi’s Towera Vinkhumbo and Thistles Emily Nicholl, that ensured Sirens walked away from the weekend with their first victory on the board.
To see which other international netball players you should look out for in round three of the VNSL, which starts this Friday, click here.
To view all the results from the Season Opener and view the up and coming fixtures, click here.
To find out more about leagues taking place in other WN Regions this season, visit our Domestic League page here.