2023 NSL | Round 14 preview: Compact yet tantalising fixture

ROUND 14’s offering of fixtures in the Netball Super League may be small in number, but is certainly not small in potential entertainment value.

Instead of the normal five or six matches, there is only the four. They are all return fixtures of match ups from back in Round 5, but with the Severn Stars and Team Bath – who also played each other back in Round 5 – getting this round off.

This weekend’s action begins in Wales, with the Dragons hosting the Mavericks.

Last time around it was a comfortable win to the Mavericks, but both sides look a bit different now to what they did back in March.

Razia Quashie was still weeks away from returning from injury, while the Dragons’ shooting end looks very different now to what it did back then, with Rachel Dunn and Gabby Sinclair now in as the main combination. Neither Dunn or Sinclair played in the Round 5 fixture, so Quashie and Jodie Gibson will have to be quick on their feet to work out how best to counter this combination.

The second of the clashes on Friday night sees the Leeds Rhinos hosting the Strathclyde Sirens.

Although this may not be the most tantalising match up on paper this weekend, back in Round 5 this was a draw after a last minute Sirens goal to seal the draw.

Time will tell if the return leg is anywhere near as close as the first was, but one thing the Rhinos will have to counteract is an attacking circle they did not face back in March. Stella Oyella was still playing back in March, but has since done her ACL so Vicki Oyesola and Michelle Magee will have to work out Niamh McCall and her game instead. Oyesola is also in amazing form, so McCall and Bethan Goodwin will have their work cut out for them just trying to shake her tag.

Moving on to Saturday, and it is the Grand Final rematch mark two between the Thunder and Lightning.

Last time around it was a game of swinging momentums, but in the end it was a comfortable win.

Mary Cholhok’s influence was nicely dampened last time by Kerry Almond and co., but since then Josie Huckle has really cemented her spot as the starting goal keeper, so the question will be can she do a job as well as Almond did last time.

Another fascinating battle will be in the midcourt, with skippers Nat Metcalf and Nat Panagarry both set to do battle in centre.

Another factor in this match to consider is that the Thunder are coming off a weekend off, whereas Lightning are not, so the rest may play a factor too.

The final match of the round is in Surrey, with the Storm playing host to the Pulse.

Back in March, the Storm has absolutely come out of the blocks firing in the first month of the season, before they hit the Pulse and their undefeated start to the year came to a crashing halt, losing by five goals.

This time around it is a top two battle, and both sides are on the exact same number of points and almost the same goal difference, so the stakes could not be much higher. The Pulse also have two games in hand over the Storm, so if the Storm lose this weekend they do not necessarily have that wriggle room to catch up the deficit like the Pulse do if they were to lose.

Both teams have excellent shooting circles, so Proscovia Peace, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Olivia Tchine and Berri Neil are sure to provide plenty of reward for their teammates’ hard work further up the court. The question will be who gets the higher number of opportunities to shoot and capitalise on the hard work of their team mates.


Celtic Dragons vs Saracens Mavericks – Friday at 7pm – House of Sport

Leeds Rhinos vs Strathclyde Sirens – Friday at 7:30pm – Allam Sports Centre

Loughborough Lightning vs Manchester Thunder – Saturday at 6pm – David Wallace Sports Hall

Surrey Storm vs London Pulse – Saturday at 6pm – Surrey Sports Hall

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