Things continued to heat up in Round 12 of the UK’s Netball Super League, as Manchester Thunder got their revenge against Surrey Storm, London Pulse took the league top spot, and England Rose Francesca Williams stole the show for Loughborough Lightning.
Here is this week’s International Player Watch:
Team Bath 48 -70 London Pulse
The score line for this game suggests Pulse dominated Bath throughout, but it was actually just strong first and final quarters from the visitors that secured them the win.
In the middle quarters, not much could separate the two sides with Pulse only winning both of those periods by two goals each.
Bath did not give up without a fight, in a match which was their Malawi Queen Caroline Mtukule’s first Netball Super League start.
However, Mtukule had a tough task against two young in-form England Roses, Olivia Tchine and Berri Neil, who were both clinical under the post.
The Pulse and England duo as always worked seamlessly together, with Tchine notching up another 51 goals taking her up to 5th in the leagues goal scoring charts and taking Pulse to the top of the league.
Sirens 49 – 52 Stars
The second match of the weekend was a much closer encounter and what a thriller is was in Glasgow.
The hosts Sirens lead by one goal after 15-minutes, but Stars soon changed that in the second quarter taking a three-goal lead into half-time.
An international match up that fans would have loved watching in this closely contested game was Stars and SPAR Proteas shooter, Sigi Burger, against Malawi and Sirens defender Towera Vinkhumbo.
In the last quarter the game was goal-for-goal until an interception from Vinkhumbo saw Siren’s take a marginal one goal lead.
In the dying minutes it was then Burger and her Stars side that eventually came out on top, as Burger took her match goal scoring tally up to 41, moving her to the top of the leagues goal scoring charts and helping Stars secure a 49-52 victory.
Thunder 57 – 49 Storm
At the second time of asking this season, Thunder withheld the Storm as they beat the visitors 57-49 to keep their home unbeaten record alive.
Early in the season Storm dealt Thunder their first defeat, after the reigning champions managed to go last season unbeaten.
However, this time Thunder weren’t going to let Storm break another one of their records.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the hosts started to pull away, with Josie Huckle and England Future Rose Ella Bowen proving the difference for Thunder as they made three interceptions between them.
Storm tried to fight back, with Northern Ireland defender Niamh Cooper and England Rose Layla Guscoth making deflections and interceptions in the dying minutes, but it just wasn’t to be for Storm as Thunder took the 57-49 victory.
The win for Thunder means they now overtake Storm, and sit second in the league table behind London Pulse by goal difference.
Rhinos 52 – 53 Mavericks
The fourth game of the weekend was a nail biter, with the visitors stealing the win in the dying seconds by one goal.
As the game got underway, both teams took their time to settle with unforced errors creeping in throughout the court and neither team scoring for a minute and a half.
It was Mavericks that eventually settled into the game first winning the first and second quarters, with England Rose Jodie Gibson, a key part of that marginal lead as she contributed with a few early turnovers to help her team take a 19 – 25 lead into half-time.
Rhinos used half-time to re-group and came out charging, with New Zealander Ellie Bird leading the way as her teammates just seemed to keep finding her under the post allowing them to win the third quarter 20-13 and bringing the score back to 39-38 to Rhino’s.
It was all still the play for in the last quarter, as the game went goal-for-goal again, until Mavericks dealt Rhinos a late blow stealing the win.
Dragons 48 – 65 Lightning
In the final match of the round, it was a Fran Williams world, and we were just living in it.
The England Rose and Lightning player dominated in defence from the off as she continuously won ball in the circle, making a total of eight interceptions, four deflections, and nine turnovers.
These incredible match stats took Williams up to top of interceptions chart, second in the turnovers chart and tenth in the deflections chart.
Dragons tried to fight back each quarter, with their Trinidad & Tobago Calypso Girl Shaquanda Greene-Noel never giving up as she racked up some equally impressive defensive statistics including six turnovers and four deflections.
However, there was just no stopping Lightning as they took the win 48-65.