Bath overcomes challenges to beat Rhinos

TEAM Bath has overcome pre-match challenges and limited players to storm to an eye-catching 20-goal win over Leeds Rhinos to close out Round 3 of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL). The standalone Monday night clash took place at EIS Sheffield, with Bath announcing pre-game it had called up three players to its side after injury and illness restricted team selection.

The blue and gold team headed to Leeds minus the likes of Rachel Shaw and Betsy Creak from Bath’s last match, as experienced midcourter Serena Guthrie, international defender Phumza Maweni and goaler Hannah Passmore also remained out of the team. Despite this, Bath’s top-end talent still in the lineup did enough to get home and bounce back from the Round 2 loss to go 2-1 thus far in season 2022.

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  • Leeds Rhinos
  • Team Bath

Despite travelling away, and having to top up with some talented local players, Team Bath stormed out of the blocks to pile on 19 goals to 10 and leave the home crowd a little shellshocked. The blue and gold really took control of the match, adding to the lead with a 15-12 second term to go up 34-22 at the main break and be in firm control of the contest. Producing a four-quarter effort, Bath won the third term 15-13, then ran away with the match 18-12 in the final stanza to record a memorable 67-47 victory.

Unsurprisingly leading from the front was captain Imogen Allison who won the Player of the Match honours, picking up an assist, deflection and two turnovers, with only two penalties for the match. She was one of a number of impressive players, with shooting duo Kim Borger (44 goals from 47 attempts) and Roses international Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (23 from 25) both shooting at an elite clip. Kirsty Harris had to start at wing attack in the absence of Shaw, and did really well, picking up a team-high 18 feeds in the role. Up the defensive end, Layla Guscoth (three intercepts, four deflections, three rebounds and nine turnovers) combined perfectly with Tash Pavelin (six intercepts, four deflections, one rebound and 10 turnovers).

For the rhinos, ex-Dragons talent Amy Clinton backed up her strong debut with 24 goals from 30 attempts, whilst Sienna Rushton and Rhea Dixon both finished with nine from 11. Brie Tyler Grierson rotated from wing attack to get a taste at goal attack too, scoring five from six, but picking up a team-high 19 feeds. Vicki Oyesola had a couple of deflections, a turnover and a rebound, but also a caution to go with her 14 penalties in a bid to try and help her team get over the line. Rebekah Airey had the seven penalties, also picking up four turnovers, two deflections, one intercept and on deflection.

Team Bath will have a sooner-than-expected turnaround with a home match against Surrey Storm on Friday night, whilst Leeds Rhinos play the day after when they travel to Wales to lock horns with the winless Celtic Dragons.

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