International Player Watch – The UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague Round 17

The heat was turned up in Round 17 of the Vitality Netball Superleague, with top-four hopes hampered, two wins secured by one goal margins and international players standing out once again.

Here is our match round up…

Leeds Rhinos 49 – 48 Surrey Storm

Leeds Rhino’s depended Surrey Storms’ chances of reaching the play offs this weekend, as they beat their visitors by 49-48.

Storm started strong and had a 18-14 lead at the end of the first 15-minutes, however Rhino’s made a second half comeback winning the penultimate quarter by one and the final quarter by four.

South Africa SPAR Protea and Rhino’s shooter, Sigi Burger, scored a thrilling last second winner for her side, taking her goal scoring tally up to 43 in the match.

Celtic Dragons 57 – 51 Severn Stars  

It was a winning weekend in Wales, as Celtic Dragons secured their third victory of the Vitality Netball Superleague season and second win over struggling Severn Stars.

The third quarter, often known as the ‘championship quarter’ lived up to its name in this match as it was the crucial time in which Dragons secured the points, taking a 30-30 score line to 46-34 in their favour.

There were many standout players in the Dragon’s side, including their attacking trio of Laura Rudland, Georgia Rowe (Wales) and Lefebre Rademan (South Africa), who all grew in confidence as the game went on and worked well together.

Sirens 57 – 50 Mavericks

Another team that was dealt a top four blow this week was Mavericks, as Sirens beat them 57-50.

It was an extremely close encounter in the first half, with the teams winning a quarter each meaning Sirens lead by just two goals at half-time.

However, in the third quarter the home side stepped it up and ran away with the game.

Sirens’ defensive duo of Emily Nicholl (Scottish Thistle) and Towera Vinkhumbo (Malawi Queen) dominated the circle with nine interceptions, six deflections and 13 turnovers between them.

Leeds Rhinos 49 – 84 Manchester Thunder

The league commanders Manchester Thunder, hit the 80’s for the 3rd time this season when they beat Leeds Rhino’s 49-84.

The high scorelines reflect just how well the Thunder shooters have performed this season, with this match no different for Malawi Queen Joyce Mvula scored a staggering 60 goals.

The 60-goal-tally takes Mvula’s league scoring stats up to 608 goals for the season, putting her 2nd in the leagues charts.

Loughborough Lightning 52 – 46 Team Bath

The only team anywhere near Manchester Thunder in the league this season is Loughborough Lightning, and they maintained their second-place position in the league following their 52-46 triumph over Team Bath.

It wasn’t a strong start for Lightning though, as they finished the 1st quarter down by two and only managed to pull it back to a draw by half-time.

Once again this weekend the third quarter proved the important one, as Lightning upped the intensity and won the quarter by six meaning that despite drawing the final quarter, they had done enough to win.

There were international stars that shone in both sides during this clash with England Rose Layla Guscoth crucial for Team Bath once again, helping to keep them in the game until the dying minutes with her five interceptions, four deflections, and eight turnovers.

Whilst on the winning side, it was Emma Tacker, England Roses Future programme 2022/23 athlete, who stood out in her first Superleague start as she scored 28 goals, made two interceptions and two turnovers at goal attack before securing the Player of the Match award.

Celtic Dragons 45 – 46 Wasps

The round then finished how it started with another nail-biting clash where only one goal could separate the two sides.

This time it involved Celtic Dragons and Wasps, and it was Wasps that left the final sting on the Dragons as they won 45-46.

After winning the first quarter 14-11, Wasps went on to struggle in the second and third quarters losing both marginally by no more than two goals leaving it all to play for in the final-15-minutes as the score sat at 35-35.

The last quarter went goal for goal, with Wasps scoring the winner in the dying minutes.

The win was a memorable one for England Rose and Wasps shooter Rachel Dunn as she made her 100th league appearance.

Coming up…

The next round of the VNSL will start on the 14th May, and you can view the fixtures and previous results here.

To find out more about leagues taking place in other World Netball Regions this season, visit our Domestic League page here.