Round three of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) came to end on Monday 14th February, in the UK and once again the matches were a showcase of international talent.
Following the Season Opener which was played at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena, round three saw the return of home and away venues for the first time in two years.
For Saracens Mavericks, that home advantage eventually proved a good thing in their marginal 53-51 victory over rivals London Pulse, at the Hertfordshire Sports Village.
The star players in that game were ex England international players and sisters, Sasha and Kadeen Corbin, and South Africa’s Ine-Mari Venter. The Mav’s trio worked hard to split the Pulse defence and find space down the court.
The second match of the weekend was a trip to Scotland for Leeds Rhino’s to take on Strathclyde Sirens.
The visitors took home the win following a tight contest leading to them beating Sirens 45-43, however it was Scottish Thistles Captain and Sirens defender, Emily Nicholl, who was awarded Player of the Match thanks to her solid defensive performance with many flying interceptions.
Day two involved three more matches, this time with all three homes sides, Manchester Thunder, Loughborough Lightning and Wasps, taking the victories.
It was a shooting masterclass in the game between Manchester Thunder and Surrey Storm with the two teams scoring 144 goals between them, until Thunder came out on top with a 76-68 victory.
It was the third time running that Thunder had netted over 70 goals since the VNSL return, this time it was Malawi Queen Joyce Mvula who converted 50 and England Rose, Eleanor Cardwell with the other 26 for Thunder.
Despite being on the losing side Ugandan Proscovia Peace scored an outstanding 62 goals for her Storm side.
The current reigning champions, Loughborough Lightning, also secured their second win of the season when they beat Celtic Dragons 65-37.
Lightning had six senior internationals in their starting seven, including five England Rose’s in Ella Clarke, Hannah Joseph, Natalie Penagarry, Beth Cobden, and Francesca Williams and Uganda’s Mary Cholhok, whose experience shone through to ensure the victory.
In the final game of the day, it was Wasps who secured their first victory of the season as they beat Severn Stars 54-45 in another close Superleague encounter.
A strong third quarter from the home side, Wasps, after a wobbly start ensured they won the game and it was Scottish Thistle, Iona Christian, who was awarded Wasps Player of the Match after her performance at wing attack with 23 feeds into the circle.
The final game of round three and the weekend saw Leeds Rhinos’ take to court again for the second time in three days, but this time they faced a 47-67 defeat to their visitors Team Bath.
Bath were missing a few key players due to injury and illness; however, they still had their captain Imogen Allison whose performance at centre earned her Player of the Match.
Well done all teams in the round three!
To see which other international netball players you should look out for in round four of the VNSL, which starts on the 18th February 2022, 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.