As round six of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) comes to an end in the UK, we have another ‘International Player Watch’ for you!
This weekend, six matches took place in the VNSL, with international defenders stealing the show across the board.
It all started with unbeaten Manchester Thunder taking a trip to Bath…
Team Bath 53 – 57 Manchester Thunder
A final quarter comeback from Manchester Thunder saw them beat Team Bath 53-57, after going into the final quarter trailing by 3. Thunder’s half time changes saw England Rose and eventual Player of the Match, Laura Malcolm, move from centre to wing defence, whilst Northern Ireland’s Caroline O’Hanlon took her place at centre. The duo made an immediate impact, but it wasn’t until the final 15 minutes that Thunder managed to secure their 7th win of the season, maintaining their unbeaten streak. Despite being on the losing side, England Rose Layla Guscoth and Bath’s home debutant and South Africa SPAR Protea Phumza Maweni, also put on a dominant defensive display in the circle making 5 turnovers and 10 deflections between them.
London Pulse 64 – 35 Severn Stars
Another team that managed to keep an unbeaten run going this weekend was London Pulse, as they secured their third successive victory, this time over Severn Stars. Pulse used their full squad during the match, with Jasmin Odeogberin coming on at goal defence in the third quarter to work alongside England Rose Funmi Fadoju in the circle. Fadoju was crowned Player of the Match for her standout performance which saw her make 9 turnovers.
Strathclyde Sirens 59 – 57 Surrey Storm
It was a nail biter of a game in Scotland this weekend as Strathclyde Sirens took on Surrey Storm. Despite the match being neck and neck throughout, Sirens were still able to go into every interval with a marginal lead, thanks to strong defensive pressure throughout the court. Sirens and Malawi Queen, Towera Vinkhumbo, was just one player that stood out in the Sirens defensive end as she made 7 turnovers, 4 deflections, and 4 interceptions all which proved to be important in such a tightly contested clash.
Loughborough Lightning 71 – 47 Saracens Mavericks
Loughborough Lightning vs Saracens Mavericks was also an intense game from the start, with Uganda and Lightning’s Mary Cholhok scoring the first two goals of the game. Cholhock and Ella Clark then combined to give Lightning a 19 – 7 goal lead after the first quarter. Lightening continued to dominate the game, showing just why they are unbeaten this season.
Leeds Rhinos 44 – 43 Wasps
Only one goal could separate Leeds Rhino’s and Wasps in their match this weekend. It was the first time Rhino’s had played at their home venue, and the home advantage seemed to help from the off with Rhino’s scoring the first goal of the match. The international stars to watch in this match were Rhinos defensive duo Vicki Oyseola (England) and Tuanie Keenan (New Zealand), the pair made 11 turnovers and 9 interceptions between them helping their side secure the marginal one goal victory.
Severn Stars 42 v 58 Celtic Dragons
Finally, Severn Stars were the team to play twice this round as they took on Celtic Dragons following a defeat to London Pulse. Unfortunately for Stars, things didn’t go the way they wanted with Dragons coming out on top and securing their first victory of the season. With both sides looking for a victory, having lost their previous five matches, the first half proved to be quite frantic, and it wasn’t until the penultimate quarter that Dragons began to dominate and control play to secure the victory. Shona O’Dwyer (England) and Clare Jones (Wales) were crucial to the second half for the visitors as they worked hard in the middle feeding the ball quickly through to Georgia Rowe (Wales) and Lefebre Rademan (South Africa) who capitalised on their opportunities. It was a real show of international talent!
To see which other international netball players you should look out for in round seven of the VNSL, which starts on the 11th March 2022, click here.
To view all the previous results 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.