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International Player Watch – The UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague Round 18

Round 18 was an eventful one in the Vitality Netball Superleague with London Pulse making history, and the top teams being tested, leading to some near league upsets.

The entertainment didn’t stop there though, we also saw some great dancing from the Manchester Thunder and Saracens Mavericks sides.

Let’s take a look at what happened…

Saracens Mavericks 54 – 50 Surrey Storm

In their first match of the weekend Saracen’s Mavericks took the win 54-50 to keep their finals weekend hopes alive.

Storm had a strong first half, and were leading by six with 10-minutes to go until half-time.

The game then changed as Mavericks Ire-Mari Venter (South Africa SPAR Protea) came on as a sub, making her first home appearance since being side-lined in Round 7.

Venter did not disappoint, adding energy to the match and putting up 28 goals to help her team to their eventual win in the final quarter.

Strathclyde Sirens 41 – 57 London Pulse

 It was a big weekend for London Pulse, as they managed to make club history by securing a top four spot and place in the finals weekend, thanks to their firing start at the Emirates Arena.

The visitors took a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes, setting the fast and dynamic tone of the game.

Each quarter, despite Sirens’ making changes and trying to work the ball patiently through the court from defence and attack, Pulse remained in front commanding the game.

Two standout international players were England Roses’ Jasmin Odeogberin and Assaindey Olivia Tchine, Odeogberin was a force to be reckoned with at goal defence and was eventually awarded Player of the Match for her performance, whilst Tchine scored 43 goals.

Wasps 52 – 54 Loughborough Lightning

The third game of the weekend was the closest encounter yet, with only two goals separating the two sides at the final whistle.

Wasps came into the game with confidence, off the back of three consecutive wins, and won the first quarter thanks to England Rose Rachel Dunn starting strong in the circle.

However, Lightning upped the intensity from the closing minutes of the second quarter onwards, and by the final break of the game the visitors led by five, showing just why they have only lost once all season.

Scottish Thistle, Iona Christian, helped to get her Wasps back into the game in the final quarter with her fast-paced movement and accurate feeds into the shooters, but it just wasn’t enough for Wasps to see off the leagues’ second place team.

Manchester Thunder 61 – 53 Saracens Mavericks

Mavericks caused a storm at Thunder, as they nearly ended the home sides unbeaten record.

The intensity and persistence of Mavericks England Roses’ defensive duo, Jodie Gibson and Kadeen Corbin, forced Thunder to make multiple changes throughout the first half in the shooting circle.

Corbin and Gibson made five interceptions, six deflections, and six turnovers between them in the match, and really unsettled Thunder for the first time this season.

At half-time Mavericks were in the lead by six, a great achievement against a Thunder team who this season have averaged at 70 goals a game, and have won every game since Round 12 by at least 21-goals.

In the penultimate quarter Thunder stepped up the tempo, and the combination of England Rose Eleanor Cardwell and Malawi Queen Joyce Mvula began to click steering Thunder back in the right and helping them keep their unbeaten record.

Regardless of the score, both teams had fun out on court after the match coming together to celebrate the beauty of sport across the whole world...

Leeds Rhinos 56 – 55 Severn Stars 

Only one goal could separate Leeds Rhinos and Severn Stars after 60 minutes on Monday night, with Stars second half comeback not quite enough to take home the points.

Rhinos started the strongest of the two sides, going into all three-quarter breaks leading by six goals.

However, in the final quarter of the game things began to heat up with Stars shooting back into the game.

Fijian Pearl Dee Bolakoro came back on at goal keeper, and made an instant impact making an interception which helped her team get back within reaching distance, leaving it all still to play for in the dying minutes.

The comeback wasn’t enough though, with Rhino’s scoring the last goal of the game to make it 56-55 to the home side.

Celtic Dragons 44 – 49 Team Bath 

Finally, after an eventful weekend of Netball with all the top of the table teams being tested, Celtic Dragons continued the trend as they threatened Team Bath.

Dragons challenged the top 4 team from the off, with Trinidad and Tobago and Dragons defender Shaquanda Greene-Noel making a big impact in the defensive circle and eventually being awarded Player of the Match for her performance.

Despite this, it was Team Bath that ran away with the win in the final quarter to put them 4th in the league.

Coming up… 

The next round of the VNSL will start on the 20th May, and you can view the fixtures and previous results here.

To find out more about leagues taking place in other World Netball Regions this season, visit our Domestic League page here

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