Pecking order starts to settle in NSL

THE action over the weekend in the Netball Super League certainly helped give fans a better idea of how each team is tracking this season.

In a match that was tight by comparison to others, the Saracens Mavericks got on the board in 2024 with a 53 to 44 goal win over the Leeds Rhinos.

The match was tight for much of it, but a late surge helped the Mavericks over the line.

Things were close early between the sides, but the Mavericks were just making the most of the little moments and made them go their way, and the shooters Emma Thacker and Kira Rothwell were reaping those rewards in attack. As much as Caroline O’Hanlon was an absolute hustler and working hard through midcourt, it was not enough as things seem to be going right on a more regular occurrence for the Mavericks.

As a sign of how tight things were margin did not rise above two or three goals at any stage early, but as the first quarter ended the score was four goals to the advantage of the Mavericks.

The Mavericks really lifted their defensive intensity early in the second term, and began to reap the rewards straight away.

However it continued to be the little things that were bringing the Rhinos undone as the Mavericks maintained their quarter time lead.

The Rhinos were able to decrease the margin as the quarter progressed, but still lost the quarter by one, so at the main break the margin was out to five goals in the Mavericks’ favour.

Things went on the up for the Rhinos in the third term.

They were able to go on scoring runs that they were unable to in the first half, and were quickly able to get the margin back down to just a single goal.

The Rhinos went on to win the third quarter and set up an enticing final term.

However, their chances fell apart a little in the last quarter. They kept toes to toe with them early, but some well timed intercepts by the Mavericks helped them reassert their stranglehold on the game, and they went on to score nine of the last 13 goals to finally truly pull away for the first time in the match and ultimately take the win.

Vicki Oyesola (five gains, four deflections, two intercepts) and Razia Quashie (four gains, three deflections, two intercepts) both had another solid performance for the Mavericks, while Michelle Magee (four deflections, five gains) was impressive in defence for the Rhinos.

In other results:

  • Manchester Thunder made it two from two to start 2024 with an 11 goal win over the Cardiff Dragons.

It was really tight between the pair in the first half, before the Thunder broke away in the third term to take the win.

Natalie Metcalf was a workhorse in mid court for the Thunder, while Shadine Van der Merwe also had a particularly strong game in defence, picking up eight deflections and six gains.

Meanwhile for the Dragons Hannah Passmore and Khanyisa Chawane were both impressive.

  • The Severn Stars also made it two from two after a huge win over the Severn Stars.

A 21 to nine first quarter from the Stars really set up the win, and then the Stars backed it up with a 15 to six second term.

Ella Powell-Davies ensured the Stars not having Jasmine Brown was not going to be an issue with a five gain performance in goal defence, while Jessica Shaw was an impressive workhorse through mid court.

Meanwhile for the Sirens Towera Vinkhumbo and Hannah Williams tried hard to keep their side in the game with impressive performance but it was not enough.

  • Loughborough Lightning also remain undefeated after a huge win over Team Bath.

It was the middle two quarters where the Lightning really put their foot down, scoring a combined 48 goals to 18 across the two quarters.

Mary Cholhok was at her high volume best for the Lightning, although a little inaccurate, while Alice Harvey recorded 10 gains and six intercepts in a massive performance down back.

Meanwhile for Bath Jayda Pechova picked up a lot of penalties but also picked up five gains.

  • The London Pulse bounced back to pick up their first win of the season, downing the Surrey Storm by 16 goals.

It was all started off the back of the Pulse comfortably winning the first and second quarter, so by the time the Storm fought back to win the third it did not really make an impact on the overall score.

Funmi Fadoju picked up 15 deflections and give gains in another stellar performance for the Pulse, while Zara Everitt also picked up five gains in the win.

Meanwhile for the Storm they got a boost with the return of Proscovia Peace, who was ultimately their top scorer, while Rachael Fee picked up four gains in a strong defensive performance.

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