Round 7 of the UK’s Netball Super League took place this weekend, and with the top-four looking closer than ever it was clear just how much was on the line for each team as they took to court.
Loughborough Lightning and Surrey Storm continued their unbeaten home-records, whilst Severn Stars pushed Manchester Thunder all the way to the end in a close clash full of fierce matchups.
Here is a quick round-up looking at just some of the international players that made a difference this week…
Manchester Thunder 76 – 57 Team Bath
Manchester Thunder saw out their 5th win of the season with a dominant second-half performance against Bath in the Netball Super League.
Thunder won all four quarters, but it wasn’t until the final 15-minutes that they put the game to bed, pulling away from the visitors winning the quarter 21-14 and the match 76-57.
A key Thunder player in this clash was Scottish Thistle, Iona Christian, who worked tirelessly at centre moving with speed throughout the court and putting 40 feeds into the circle, whilst also making one interception and another turnover to help her team.
Christian worked in the centre court alongside England Rose’s Captain, Natalie Metclaf, who has an equally accurate circle feed, and she did not disappoint this match putting 50 balls into the circle, topping the leagues ‘feeds’ chart.
Strathclyde Sirens 71 – 47 Saracens Mavericks
Sirens could not be silenced against Mavericks in the second match of Round 7, with the Scottish based side recording their biggest victory margin since 2017.
As the match got underway, it looked as though it was going to be a close one with both teams battling for the ball and forcing each other into making errors, meaning the score line sat at 15-all at the first break.
However, the tables turned in the second quarter as Sirens came out flying with different international players dominating in each third of the court as they took a quick five-goal-lead which they soon extended to 10.
In their attacking end, Ugandan shooter Stella Oyella was unstoppable as she connected well with Scottish Thistle Beth Goodwin, whilst in the centre court there was not stopping fellow Thistle Claire Maxwell and in defence Malawi Queen Towera Vinkhumbo was a force to be reckoned with.
Sirens only allowed Mavericks to score 8 goals in the second quarter, compared to their 19-goal quarter tally and by the end of the third quarter, the home-side found themselves rewarded for their efforts and consistency as they led 55-36 with 15-minutes to go.
Mavericks battled until the end, but Sirens showed no sign of slowing down as they went on to win the match 71-47.
Severn Stars 56 – 63 Manchester Thunder
There was no rest for the defending champions Manchester Thunder, as they took to court again for their third match in seven-days.
Despite the demanding schedule Thunder still managed to make it the perfect hattrick as they beat Severn Stars 56-63.
It wasn’t an easy ride for either team though in this game with fierce matchups throughout the court.
In the opening two quarters the match went goal-for-goal, and it wasn’t until the final 15-minutes that Thunder showed their experience and pulled themselves back from behind to take the win as they won the fourth quarter 10-22.
The Vitality Netball World Cup 2023 hosts, South Africa, had key players in both teams shooting circles as Lenzie Potgieter scored 42 for Thunder, and despite being on the eventual losing side Sigi Burger scored 47 for Stars.
This takes Burger up to the second in the leagues goal scoring charts, with 311 goals to her name.
Loughborough Lightning 63 – 49 Leeds Rhinos
A second half come-back from Loughborough Lightning saw them keep their unbeaten home-record alive and move up to third in the table this weekend.
It was a game in which England Roses were celebrated as Lightnings Nat Panagarry made her 150th Netball League appearance, and Alice Harvey made her 50th.
Panagarry and Harvey’s teammates made sure they could celebrate these milestones in style, as they put on a second-half performance to be proud of coming back from one goal down at half-time to then be four goals to the good with 15-minutes to go, before eventually winning the match by 14.
Ugandan She Crane Mary Cholhok added another 37 goals to her seasons tally, converting when it mattered most.
Whilst Panagarry showed it will be 150 games and counting as she made 22 feeds into the circle, three interceptions, and three turnovers in a match where she was eventually awarded player of the match.
Surrey Storm 68 – 40 Celtic Dragons
Just like Loughborough Lightning, Surrey Storm also continued their unbeaten home-record as they beat Celtic Dragons in the final match of Round 7.
Storm knocked Dragons down in the first quarter as they scored a quick flurry of goals, through international shooting duo Proscovia Peace (Uganda She Crane) and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England Rose), to take a 22-9 lead into the first break which they then continued to extend quarter on quarter.
Dragons had their own international shooter in the circle for this match, with well-known England Rose, Rachel Dunn, joining their roster for the first time following an injury to Chelsea Beard.
Dunn scored 29 goals for her new Dragons side, but there was just not stopping Storms on form defensive combination of Amy Flanagan, Layla Guscoth (England Rose) and Leah Middleton.
Guscoth made six turnovers, six deflections and two interceptions showing just why she still tops the turnover and deflection charts, and Storm till top the league.