Super League season gets off to a super start

THE 2023 Netball Superleague season kicked off over the weekend, and as all the teams converged on Nottingham for the opening day, most results went as many would have expected but not all.

The Severn Stars shocked the competition on the opening day, defeating the Saracens Mavericks 59 goals to 55 to get their season off to a perfect start.

It was a good start for the Mavericks to begin the game though as they pinched a goal off the very first Stars centre pass, and thanks to a long range bomb from Ine-Mari Venter they consolidated it from the second centre pass.

Their break did not last long as the Stars eliminated the lead shortly after, but then the Mavericks rebuilt and grew their advantage again.

The Mavericks’ lead was heading towards double digits, but the Stars really pulled it back late to only be down by three at the first change.

The Stars continued to have the momentum to begin the second term, and after getting close a few times finally levelled things up just under five minutes into the quarter and then took the lead.

Some disconnect and wayward passing up front for the Mavericks did not help their cause, but some excellent defensive work from the likes of Jodie Gibson and Jo Trip really kept their respective opposition on their toes.

Neither side could gain much more than a one or two goal ascendency, and as such the Mavericks held the lead at the main break by the narrowest of margins.

Slowly but surely, as the third quarter progressed, the Stars began to grow and build a very handy buffer for themselves.

Largely thanks to the stellar circle team work of Sigrid Burger and Grace Namana, the Stars held the momentum for much of the third quarter, and things were looking good for those in orange.

The lead got out to as much as six goals during the quarter, and that is where it remained at the final change.

The Stars were able to maintain their five to six goal buffer, but as the quarter got closer to its conclusion the Mavericks began to make a bit of a comeback.

They got within a handful of goals, but the likes of Gabriella Marshall ensured the Mavericks would run out of time to complete the comeback, and the Stars held on for a confidence boosting win.

In other results:

  • Loughborough got off to the perfect start with a solid win over Bath.

Some poor passing from Bath early really hampered their chances, and the Lightning capitalised and took the early lead and never looked back.

Mary Cholhok (50 goals) was on fire under the ring for Loughborough, while Hannah Jospeh (31 feeds) was industrious through mid court.

Meanwhile for Bath, Betsy Creak led from the front in the shooting department (22 goals) while Lily-May Catling was really solid in defence.

  • Surrey got a busy opening weekend off to a good start with a win over the Sirens.

In an aggressive game, despite the Sirens winning the final quarter the damage was already done as the Storm went on to win by 12.

Proscovia Peace starred under the ring for the Storm (48 goals), while Amy Flanagan (four intercepts and three deflections) and Layla Guscoth (five deflections and three intercepts) were both impressive in defence.

Meanwhile for the Sirens Claire Maxwell (three deflections and two intercepts) and Towera Vinkhumbo (two intercepts and two deflections) both played solidly in defence despite both picking up a caution.

  • London got the season off to a great start, defeating a new look Leeds Rhinos 64 goals to 48.

Leeds got the better start to the game and were in front at the first change, but then London kicked into gear and turned things around in the second quarter. London never looked back from there, earning a solid win to begin the campaign.

Funmi Fadoju and Lindsay Keable were among the best for the Pulse, while Elle McDonald and Caroline O’Hanlon played well for Leeds.

  • Manchester got its title defence off to an ideal start, comfortably defeating Celtic Dragons by 26 goals.

The Thunder outscored the Dragons by almost double in the first term, and maintained that level of pressure for the rest of the game.

In her first game for the Thunder Lenize Potgieter (46 goals) led from the front, while Natalie Metcalf (21 feeds, two goals) was industrious through mid court.

Meanwhile for the Dragons new recruit Gabrielle Sinclair (32 goals) led from the front in the shooting end, while Shaquanda Greene-Noel (nine deflections and two intercepts) was strong in defence.

  • In the rescheduled Round 20 match to round out the opening weekend, the Stars could not back up their win from Saturday, going down to Surrey by 26 goals.

Surrey got the match off to a good start, and despite the scoring rate dropping in the middle two quarters they brought the scoring back up to record a dominant win.

Peace (45 goals) and Leah Middleton (4 deflections, three intercepts) both played well for Surrey, while Marshall (six deflections, eight feeds) and Burger (39 goals) were among Severn’s best.

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