International Player Watch – The UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague Round 16

It was a fully packed weekend of netball in the UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague, with three re-arranged fixtures and five further fixtures taking place.

Following the announcement of the athletes selected for the England Roses 2022/2023 programme, this week we took a closer look at just some of the Roses that stood out in Round 16…

Leeds Rhinos 56 – 71 Loughborough Lightning

The first match of the weekend was a re-arranged fixture, previously scheduled for Round 2, which saw Leeds Rhinos welcome Loughborough Lightning.

Last year’s champions, Lightning, excelled from the start with Hannah Joseph, who has just been announced as part of the 2022/2023 Roses programme, instrumental with her consistent accurate feed into the circle.

Ella Clark, who has also just been name as part of the 2022/2023 Roses programme, capitalised off Joseph’s powerful feeds, as she added 58 goals to the tally and was eventually given the player of the match award.

The win means Lightning now need one more victory in order to confirm their place in finals weekend.

Team Bath 50 – 49 Saracens Mavericks

Next up was a rescheduled fixture from Round 10, which saw Team Bath welcome Saracens Mavericks to the Team Bath Arena for a closely contested battle.

Despite the home side winning the first quarter, 15-12, Mavericks then stepped it up in the 2nd and 3rd quarters taking control of the game and outscoring Bath in both sets of 15-minutes.

It was all still to play for in the final quarter though, with Mavericks having just a 4-goal-lead.

With 5-minutes remaining Bath stepped it up, with an important goal from Australian Kim Borger and some defensive dominance from Razia Quashie, who has just been named in the 2022/2023 Roses programme, and Jodie Gibson securing the win in the dying minutes and keeping Baths top 4 hopes alive.

Severn Stars 38 – 53 London Pulse

Saturday saw the start of the scheduled Round 16 fixtures, as Severn Stars took on London Pulse.

There was lots of excitement around the fixture as Funmi Fadoju returned to the Pulse team following 4-weeks side-lined due to injury.

On her return, the England Rose played two quarters in which she made two interceptions and six deflections contributing to her sides victory.

It was an overall strong penultimate quarter from the visitors, where they scored 16 goals to Stars seven, ensuring no 4th quarter performance from Stars would be enough to steal the points.

Surrey Storm 55 – 52 Strathclyde Sirens

It was an extremely close contest between Surrey Storm and Strathclyde Sirens, with the score 27-27 at half-time leaving it all to play for when the teams came out in the second half.

It wasn’t until the 4th quarter that Storm were able to pull away, thanks to fantastic defence from Zimbabwe Gem, Felisitus Kwangwa, who’s interception helped to give them a four goal lead.

Kwangwa made six interceptions, seven deflections and 10 turnovers in the match, which she was eventually rewarded for as her team took the marginal win and she took home the player of the match award.

Wasps 65 – 52 Surrey Storm

Just 24-hours later Surrey Storm were back out on court again and part of another close match, however this time they weren’t on the winning side.

Wasps came into the match full of energy, off the back of a Round 15 win against Leeds Rhinos and secured their first consecutive victory of 2022.

Scottish Thistle, Iona Christian, was just one stand out Wasp that helped to contribute to the Storm sting as she worked tirelessly at wing attack making 25 feeds into the attacking circle to Lucy Parize and England Rose Rachel Dunn.

Strathclyde Sirens 49 – 54 Severn Stars

Sirens and Stars both then came head-to-head hoping for their first wins of the weekend, after Sirens had missed out to Storm and Stars to London Pulse.

It was Stars that came out on top, in the rearranged Round 10 fixture.

One match-up which no one could take their eyes off was that of Stars shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti (New Zealand), against Sirens goal keeper Abigail Tyrrell.

Both players had a great game, with Tuivaiti scoring 34 goals to help her side to victory and Tyrrell making a significant impact with her constant pressure, despite being on eventual the losing side.

Manchester Thunder 66 – 45 Team Bath

In the penultimate game of the weekend, all eyes turned to top of the table Manchester Thunder as they looked to extend their unbeaten record.

Despite having already booked their place in the finals weekend, Thunder showed no signs of slowing down as they beat Bath 66-45 and used almost all 12 of their players within the first half showing just how strong the entire squad is.

Thunders captain, Laura Malcolm, who has just been named in the England Roses 2022/2023 programme, was outstanding at wing defence making three interceptions and four turnovers which saw her named player of the match.

Saracens Mavericks 51 – 59 Loughborough Lightning

In the final match of the weekend, Loughborough Lightning confirmed their place in the finals weekend with a win over Saracens Mavericks.

After a poor first quarter from the visitors, it looked as though things might go Maverick’s way, but Lightning found their feet in the second quarter and went into half-time with a lead that they never lost again.

England Roses Francesca Williams and Alice Harvey, who have been named in the Roses programme for 2022/2023, demonstrated their strong defensive partnership in the circle making 5 interceptions and 6 turnovers between them.

Coming up…

The next round of the VNSL will start on the 6th 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.