Round 5 of the UK’s Netball Superleague confirmed that no team would be following in Manchester Thunders 2022 footsteps and competing this season unbeaten, as Surrey Storm fell to the hands of London Pulse.
The defeat means that all teams have now lost at least once this season, leaving the top 4 open for all.
Here are just some of the international players that stepped up this round…
Manchester Thunder 62 – 55 Loughborough Lightning
Manchester Thunder ruined Loughborough Lightnings winning streak this weekend, as they struck them down in the Round 5 clash, to take a 62 – 55 victory.
The match started off end-to-end, but it was Thunder that settled the quickest and capitalised on their chances to take an early 5-goal lead in the first quarter.
The second quarter was much the same, with Thunder causing Lightning to make many errors with their ball placement.
England Rose and Thunder captain, Nat Metcalf, was essential in the mid-court applying constant pressure and linking up well with goal attack Lois Pearson from the circle edge.
Lightning struck back in the third quarter, winning the 15-minute period 16-12 and bringing back the gap to just 5 going into the final quarter. However, that wasn’t enough to overturn Thunder who eventually took the win 62 – 55.
Despite being on the eventual losing team, one international player that must be mentioned is Lightning shooter Mary Cholhok who in a frustrating game hit the 200-goal mark for the 2023 season, making the Ugandan She Crane shooter the leagues 3rd highest goal scorer of the season.
Saracens Mavericks 61 – 47 Celtic Dragons
Saracen’s Mavericks maintained their unbeaten home record this weekend, as they stopped Celtic Dragons from ever firing up.
By half-time Mavericks were 13 goals up, with their South Africa SPAR Proteas duo, Ine-Marie Venter and Monique Meyer clinical at either end of the court.
Venter continued to convert her shots under the post, climbing up the leagues goal scoring charts to 5th.
Whilst, Meyer dominated the defensive circle, applying constant pressure to Phillipa Yarranton, before the defender was subbed off in the closing minutes of the 4thquarter for Welsh Feather, Christina Shaw.
With both Wales and South Africa having qualified for the Vitality Netball World Cup 2023, and we have no doubt Meyer and Shaw will continue to battle for a spot-on court this season for Mavericks to impress their respective international coaches ahead of selection.
Strathclyde Sirens 52 – 52 Leeds Rhinos
Next up was the closest contest of the weekend, with nothing separating the two sides in Scotland after 60-minutes.
The first quarter was end-to-end, and it was clear how much was on the line for Rhino’s as they continued in search of their first win of the season.
However, the Siren’s defence were persistent throughout court with Scottish Thistle Emily Nicholl at goal defence fighting for every single ball, helping her team take an early two goal lead.
The second quarter promised more of the same from Sirens, with Thistle captain Claire Maxwell securing a crucial turnover to keep her side in front by 1, which they then went on to extend to six by half-time.
The tables turned at half-time, and it was Rhino’s that came out charging, closing the gap back down to 1 goal and eventually taking a one goal lead into the final quarter leaving it all to play for.
Just like the first quarter, the final quarter was an end-to-end battle and it was another young Scottish Thistle, Bethan Goodwin, that stood up to the challenge for Sirens and made the difference, scoring the decisive final goal on the whistle to bring the match back to a draw.
London Pulse 52 – 47 Surrey Storm
London Pulse dealt Surrey Storm their first defeat of the season this weekend, as a second-half comeback saw them take all the points.
After Manchester Thunder finished the 2022 season unbeaten, this result now means that no team will do the same this season as all 10 have now already lost.
Storm started the strongest of the two teams and looked on task to take their 6th win of the season as they lead by 4 at half-time, but Pulse had other ideas.
In the third quarter, the London based side put on a stellar performance for their home-crowd inside the Copper Box Arena, with many international players standing up to the test.
In the Pulse shooting circle, young England Rose’s Olivia Tchine and Berri Neil made fellow experienced England Rose, but now opponent, Layla Guscoth work harder than she had been pushed all season as she battled to win the ball from them.
The young Roses flourished under the post, helping their side win the 3rd quarter by 10 goals, which was enough for them to take the eventual win despite Storm winning the last quarter by 1.
Severn Stars 67 – 50 Team Bath
The final match of the round, saw high flying Stars take advantage of a sinking Bath side.
Severn Stars shot into the first quarter, making no mistake as they took an early 17-12 lead capitalising off Bath’s unforced errors as they failed to settle into the match.
This was a lead the home side then only continued to extend, as they won the second quarter by three taking a 30-22 lead into half-time.
South Africa SPAR Protea Sigi Burger continued to flourish throughout this match alongside her new teammates scoring 56 goals which saw her top the leagues goal scoring charts with 264 goals to her name so far this season, and helped her team secure their 3rd win of the season.
Following defeat Team Bath now have another tough contest on the horizon, as they face top of the table Surrey Storm on 10th March, live on Sky Sports.