The title race continued to heat up in Round 10 of the UK’s Netball Super League, with the top three teams finishing the round the same points.
International players were instrumental in all the matches, and here are just a few we think deserve recognition this week:
Team Bath 61 – 54 Leeds Rhinos
Team Bath recovered from a first quarter blip to beat Leeds Rhino’s in the opening match of Round 10 of the Netball Super League.
Rhinos started this match still searching for their first victory of the season and it is fair to say that they made a good start to the match, storming into the first quarter in which they held a 7-goal-lead with 5-minutes remaining forcing Bath to make an early change in order to find a response.
That change came in the home sides shooting circle, where they introduced young England Rose Sophie Kelly, who made an instant impact helping to cut the deficit down to 3-goals ahead of the first break.
Bath’s bounce back then continued in the second quarter, with Kelly continuing to be a stand-out player on court as Bath took control of the game for the first time, recovering from the first quarter deficit to take a 31-25 lead into half-time.
Both teams continued to battle in the second half, but it was Bath that remained on top due to Rhinos making a few costly errors which the home side, fired on by their 1,000+ crowd, were able to capitalise from.
From her performance today, Kelly will certainly be an England Rose for the Netball Family to look out for in the future.
Manchester Thunder 64 – 51 Sirens
Unlike Team Bath, who had a rocky start to their Round 10 match, Manchester Thunder made no mistake in making their mark in the first quarter against Sirens.
Within in the first 15-minutes the defending champions were up by seven goals, which they had then extended to an 11-goal lead by half-time.
Thunder’s defensive combination of Josie Huckle and South Africa SPAR Protea, Shadine Van Der Merwe were a force to be reckoned with in the defensive circle, as they racked up six turnovers, seven deflections and two interceptions between them, the majority of which came in the 30-minutes.
Sirens sported a spirted come-back in the second half, losing the final two quarters by only one goal each but it just wasn’t enough to cancel out Thunder’s first half masterclass.
The victory means Thunder now sit on level points with the league leader Surrey Storm at the top of the table.
Leeds Rhinos 55 – 46 Celtic Dragons
The third match of Round 10 sent a clear message: If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
Rhinos started this match against Dragons still searching for their first win of the season, and after losing their lead against Bath earlier in this round it was clear they did not want that to happen again against Dragons.
The home-side took an early lead again, with England Rose Vicki Oyesola dominating in defence and showing just why she has already been awarded three Player of the Match awards this season.
Oyesola treated the home-crowed to three interceptions in the first 15-minutes alone, going out flying on the ball at every given opportunity helping her side to take a 13-9 lead into the first break.
Either side of half-time it looked as though Rhinos might throw away their lead again, as they drew the second and third quarters 14-14 and 12-12.
However, in the closing quarter they made no mistake in seeing the game out with their Welsh Feather Nia Jones remaining calm and controlled for her team to help them remain in front and in possession of the ball when it mattered most.
Oyesola also continued to shine, as she finished the match with seven interceptions, three deflections and nine turnovers, before being awarded her four Player of the Match award as Rhinos recorded their first win of the season.
Severn Stars 41 – 61 Loughborough Lightning
Keeping with the theme of strong first quarter performances, Loughborough Lightning struck down Severn Stars in the opening 15-minutes of their match as they took an early 6-15 lead into the first break that the hosts were then never able to recover from.
It wasn’t until the closing minutes of the second quarter that Stars began to find their feet, thanks to a Jasmine Brown interception allowing them to get two consecutive goals.
However, Lightning weren’t phased by Stars stronger display and instead just upped their game again in the third quarter.
At one end of the court, Ugandan She Crane Mary Cholhok shot clinically under the post, adding 47 more goals to her season tally, whilst at the other end England Rose defenders’, Francesca Williams, and Alice Harvey, were a brilliant tag team allowing the Stars shooters no room for error.
Stars recovered well in the final break of the game and ended up going on to win the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough to catch the visitors who went on to win the match 41-61.
Saracens Mavericks 43 – 65 London Pulse
London Pulse didn’t miss a beat as they fired passed Saracens Mavericks in the final match of Round 10.
The high-flying visitors took the lead early on, scoring nine goals before Mavericks were even able to score one.
Pulse then continued to extend their lead quarter on quarter, with England Rose Olivia Tchine leading from the front as she scored 42 goals taking her season tally up to 301, as she sits 6th on the leagues goal scoring charts.
The victory for Pulse means they now sit 2nd in the league, but on the same points as 1at place Surrey Storm and 3rd place Manchester Thunder.