2023 NSL | Round 20 preview: Last hurrah for some, last chance to gear up for others

AFTER a long season full of twists and turns, it has finally arrived – the final round of the 2023 Netball Super League season.

For some, it is the end of the road for 2023. One last match before either a break or thinking ahead to the World Cup.

For others, it is one last chance to fine tune any areas of concern before finals next weekend.

The weekend begins with the only clash involving no finals bound sides, with the Celtic Dragons set to host the Leeds Rhinos in Wales.

Despite neither side being able to make finals, they will both still want to finish the season on a high.

Last time these two sides met, it was the first win of the season for the Rhinos, but after what the Dragons showed against the Sirens last week, will those in Green be able to flip that result from April?

The goal shooter versus goal keeper battle at either end is sure to be fascinating. Up one end there is the battle of height and strength of Shaquanda Greene-Noel versus Ellie Bird, and up the other end you end have the battle of wit between Vicki Oyesola and Rachel Dunn.  

Friday’s other match is in Loughborough with the Lightning taking on Bath in what will be the last match of the season for the visitors.

The last time these two teams met it was a big win to the Lightning, but that was back in Round 1 so a lot has happened in the months since. Although, Bath will just want to finish this disappointing year on a high but the Lightning will want to fine tune their game ahead of next week’s semi final against the Thunder.

One particular Bath star has had a particularly good year, but Jayda Pechova will have a tough challenge this week in the form of a very inform Mary Cholhok.

Moving onto Saturday, and the Sirens will be hoping this week’s match goes much better than last week’s did when they host the Thunder. The Thunder travel up to Glasgow in the middle of gearing up for another finals campaign and a chance to defend their title from last season. History does not favour the Sirens though, as it was a comfortable win to the Thunder last time the two sides met.

Towera Vinkhumbo single handily kept her side in the game at times last week, but she will have a tough challenge this week trying to replicate that kind of performance and keep a particularly in form Lenize Potgieter quiet.

The final match of the weekend is a London Derby on Monday night as the Pulse host the Mavericks.

Last time it was a 22 goal win to the Pulse, so the Mavericks will be keen to not have history repeat in their final match of the season.

This clash sees a battle of two key goal shooters tuning up for the World Cup in a couple of months time, with Olivia Tchine and Ine-Mari Venter keen to both keep in form for as long as possible ahead of the tournament.

Netball Super League Round 20 Fixture

Celtic Dragons vs Leeds Rhinos – Friday at 7pm – House of Sport

Loughborough Lightning vs Team Bath – Friday at 7:30pm – David Wallace Sports Hall

Strathclyde Sirens vs Manchester Thunder – Saturday at 2pm – Sports Hall, Emirates

London Pulse vs Saracens Mavericks – Monday at 7pm – Copper Box Arena

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