Round 16 really brought the energy in the UK’s Netball Super League.
Top four spots were confirmed for Surrey Storm, Loughborough Lightning and Manchester Thunder following their victories this round, but their opponents did not give them an easy ride.
These three teams will join London Pulse in the Semi-Finals.
To find out more about which international stars played their part, read out International Player Watch now:
Mavericks 41 – 38 Sirens
With outstanding international defence on display it comes as no surprise that this match went down to the final minutes.
At one end, you had the Sirens defensive duo made up of none other than Scottish Thistle Emily Nicholl and Malawi Queen Towera Vinkhumbo, whilst at the other end Mavericks had their very own international team of South Africa SPAR Protea Monique Meyer, and England Rose Razia Quashie.
The defenders worked tirelessly throughout the contest, meaning there was no easy way to goal for either team.
Sirens dominated the first quarter, and Mavericks the second before a more evenly matched second half left it all still to play for.
In the end, it was Mavericks that remained the most composed as Meyer and Quashie stopped the Siren’s shooters in their flow making six turnovers and six interceptions between them.
Surrey Storm 66 – 45 Team Bath
It was a good day in Surrey, as Storm confirmed their top four spot and booked their place in the 2023 Semi-Finals.
Surrey caused a Storm in the centre third from the start, as every single one of their players was on hand to hunt down each ball causing Bath problems early on.
However, it was not until the second quarter the impact of the home sides persistent defence really shone through as they won this quarter 21-9 to take a healthy lead into half time.
England Rose Layla Guscoth continued to be one to watch in the Storm defensive end, as she made five deflections, three turnovers and three interceptions and when called upon from the bench Zimbabwe’s Felisitus Kwangwa was a real game changer at goal defence too.
It was a full team performance from Storm, as Coach and player, Mikki Austin utilised their bench to help them get the win across the line.
The home team now sit second in the league with their Semi-Finals spot confirmed.
Loughborough Lightning 57 – 51 Severn Stars
It wasn’t just Storm that confirmed their spot in the top four this weekend, Loughborough Lightning’s win over Severn Stars also means they will have a spot in the Semi-Finals for the sixth time in a row.
Lightning went on a run in the first quarter following a turnover from their England Rose Francesca Williams, and ended up taking an early 20-13 lead into the first break.
Stars did not make it easy for Lightning from there though, as the visitors responded to their first quarter deficit by winning the second and third quarters.
Stars South Africa SPAR Protea shooter, Sigi Burger was once against instrumental in their comeback as she was clinical under post and racked up another 41 goals to her season tally.
The final quarter then saw both teams going goal-for-goal, before another SPAR Protea, this time Lightning’s Zanele Vimbela made a crucial turnover to stop Stars from shooting.
Williams then stepped up again winning ball, and helping Lightning secure a 57-51 victory.
Manchester Thunder 65 – 63 Leeds Rhinos
They say good news comes in threes, and that was certainly true in this round, as Manchester Thunder also secured their spot in the top four following their marginal victory over Leeds Rhino’s in front of a huge crowd at the AO Arena.
The contest really was an entertaining one for all those that packed out the Arena at the weekend to watch the ‘Battle of the Roses’.
The play on court matched the intensity of the crowd, with the game going goal for goal as both teams battled throughout the court until Thunder took a marginal three goal lead into half time.
However, as soon as the second half got underway Rhino’s Northern Ireland Warrior Michelle Magee won the ball back for her team setting the tempo for the last half an hour.
It wasn’t until the closing minutes of the game that the reigning champions Thunder managed to pull away from Rhino’s ever so slightly and secure a marginal win, and their spot in the Semi-Finals.