International Player Watch – Double Round Weekend in the UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague

It was a double round weekend in the UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) this weekend, with both Rounds 7 and 8 taking place, which means it is time for another international player watch.

It was a very busy weekend with 10 matches taking place across the UK, and top of the table Manchester Thunder hosting “Netball Manchester Live 2022” at the AO Arena infront of nearly 5,000 fans.

Let’s see how the teams got on…

Severn Stars 49 – 53 Leeds Rhinos

The tempo was set from the off in this match up between Severn Stars and Leeds Rhinos. England Rose, Jade Clarke, took the first centre pass for Rhino’s which was instantly intercepted by New Zealand’s Liana Leota for Stars. From then, the game remained end to end with England Rose’s, Vicki Oyesola and Rebekah Airey having standout performances at goal defence at different times in the match for Rhino’s, which had a big impact on the final result, with Airey being awarded Gilberts Player of the Match. This meant Rhino’s had back-to-back wins for the first time in the 2022 season.

Wasps 60 – 37 Celtic Dragons

Wasps secured their second win of the season against Celtic Dragons, with England Rose Rachel Dunn a key player for the winning side in the match that marked her 250th league appearance. Dunn scored 39 of Wasps eventual 60 goals, as her partnership with Lucy Parize continued to develop in the circle to the detriment of the visiting side.

London Pulse 56 – 50 Surrey Storm

A strong penultimate quarter from London Pulse saw them go into the final 15 minutes with a 6-goal lead, their biggest quarter time lead in the match, and from there the home side ensured they didn’t let Storm back into the game. The Pulse attack kept the tempo up until the end with Ashleigh Dekker returning to court in the fourth quarter, after being subbed off in the third, and making an instant impact ensuring the ball made it safely to Assaindey Olivia Tchine (part of the England Futures Programme) in the circle where the shots were converted to goals. The England Future young player scored 36 of Pulses’ 56 goals.

Saracens Mavericks 48 – 45 Strathclyde Sirens

The fourth match of the weekend was the closest of them all with only three goals the difference between the two teams at the end of the fourth quarter. In the opening 15 minutes, both Mavericks and Sirens lead by three goals at different points, but it was the home side, Mavericks, who eventually finished the first quarter in-front (14-10) setting themselves up to go on and win the match. It wasn’t all positive for Mavericks though as they lost their goal South African shooter Ine-Mari Venter in the second quarter due to injury. The injury saw Chloe Essam enter the court as GA and Kadeen Corbin move back into GS to finish off the job in attack.

Manchester Thunder 69 – 45 Leeds Rhinos

Rhinos took to the court for the second time this weekend. Off the back of their victory at Stars they made the trip to Manchester to take on unbeaten Manchester Thunder at the AO Arena as part of ‘Netball Manchester Live 2022”. Thunder were not fazed by moving away from their home venue and playing in front of nearly 5,000 fans. Their shooting combination of Malawi Queen Joyce Mvula and England Rose Eleanor Cardwell embraced the occasion netting 21 goals between them in just the opening 15 minutes, compared to Rhino’s 8. The result showed just why Thunder finished the weekend still unbeaten and top of the table with a goal difference of 121 and 24 points on the board.

Surrey Storm 55 – 53 Saracens Mavericks

It was a close contest between Surrey Storm and Saracens Mavericks at a sold-out Surrey Sports park this weekend, with Storm coming out on top in both sides second match of the weekend. Storm and Zimbabwean defender Felisitus Kwangwa played an important part in the victory as she made her first start this season, alongside Australian Leah Middleton in the defensive circle. The defensive duo made 10 turnovers, 7 deflections and 2 intercepts between them which proved to be key in such a tight match.

Team Bath 59 – 43 Celtic Dragons

Team Bath took to court for the first time since the announcement that their captain and England Rose Serena Guthrie has retired from domestic and international netball, following the news she is expecting her first baby. Guthrie took her place court side to cheer on Team Bath, who did her proud as they came away from the court with an eventual 16 goal victory. The home team’s defensive combination of England Rose Layla Guscoth and South Africa SPAR Protea Phumza Maweni made some incredible tips and intercepts throughout the match, with 15 turnovers between them.

Loughborough Lightning 57 – 53 Wasps

After a big victory against Celtic Dragons, Wasps took to court with optimism against unbeaten Loughborough Lightning this weekend. However, despite challenging Lightning all the way to the end and taking a marginal lead at half time, 29-30, the visitors were unable to put an end to their winning streak as Lightning regained control in the second half and won the 3rd and 4th quarters to secure them the victory. Once again Lightning and Uganda’s goal shooter, Mary Cholhok, was untouchable as she netted 40 of the home teams 57 goals.

Team Bath 44 – 53 Loughborough Lightning

Within 24 hours, both Lightning and Team Bath were back on court for their second matches of Round 8. It was Team Bath who seemed to have recovered from the victory the day before best, as they went into all the quarter breaks with a marginal lead over Lightning. However, Lightning found the energy to go on a last quarter surge to win the final 15 minutes 18-8 and the match 53-44. Despite ending up on the losing side, Team Bath and South Africa SPAR Protea defender Phumza Maweni picked up the Player of the Match Award for her defensive performance at goal keeper throughout the match..

London Pulse 48 – 38 Strathclyde Sirens

To finish off an incredible weekend of netball in the UK, Pulse and Siren’s took to court for their second matches since Saturday. It was another home match for Pulse, but another on the road for Scottish side Strathclyde Sirens who had previously lost by three to Mavericks at the start of the weekend. England Rose, Funmi Fadoju, made her presence on court known from the off, making an interception for Pulse within the first 40 seconds of the match. However, it was the clinical shooters that made the difference for Pulse as they only missed 4 shots, compared to Siren’s shooters that missed 14 between them. For the second time this weekend, it was the young England Rose Assaindey Olivia Tchine that dominated the shooting circle for Pulse, scoring 34 of their goals.

Round 9 of the VNSL begins on Friday 18th March, with Siren’s returning home to Scotland to start off the weekend taking on their visitors Celtic Dragons.

To view the full fixture list, click here.

To view all the previous results and view the up-and-coming fixtures, click here.

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