AS the final month of the 2023 Netball Super League season began, the top four really flexed their muscles and showed why they are where they are on the ladder.
One game that did not involve the top four but was just as entertaining was the battle overnight between Bath and the Mavericks.
Team Bath spoiled the final home game party for Sasha Corbin with a tight 57 to 54 win goals win over the Saracens Mavericks.
In a tight affair for much of the evening, the Mavericks pulled away in the final few minutes of the match to take the win.
The Mavericks started strongly, putting in three goals on the board before Bath even had their first.
Bath were then able to work their way back into the game and eventually did level back up proceedings a few minutes later.
There were a number of wayward passes from both sides, which were causing a number of potential turnover opportunities for each other.
After levelling up proceedings Bath raced ahead and with some clever footwork their lead grew to as much as four goals.
The Mavericks were able to halve that margin, but Bath held strong to still keep the lead for much of the quarter.
Saracens Mavericks levelled up proceedings inside the final minute of the quarter, but one late goal to Bath saw them take a lead into the first change.
After Bath briefly extended their lead, the Mavericks quickly levelled things up and took the lead for themselves.
Despite the Mavericks holding the lead for much of the term, it was never a big lead with Bath always nipping at their heels.
As such Bath fought back to level the game with about two and a half minutes left in the term, but the Mavericks then crept ahead again late to take a one goal lead at the main break.
It was again tight in the third term, with 15 minutes full of swinging momentums. Bath pulled ahead early, but as much as the Mavericks tried to completely work their way back into the game and take the lead, they did not quite achieve that. The visitors then took a one goal lead into the final change.
As the game moved into the last quarter it continued to prove difficult to split the teams.
It was not until the final few minutes of the quarter when Bath capitalised on a huge missed opportunity from the Mavericks to pinch a goal, which allowed them to make sure the Mavericks were unable to make up the deficit.
Ali Wilshier (32 feeds, one intercept, one turnover) and Bethan Dyke (30 feeds) was pivotal in midcourt for Bath, while for the Mavericks Razia Quashie (eight deflections, five turnovers, four intercepts, two rebounds) had a really food game.
In other results:
- Manchester Thunder returned to their home court with a solid 23 goal win over the Severn Stars.
A 20 goal to nine first quarter in favour of the Thunder was a sign of things to come, as although the last quarter was a tie the damage had already been done.
- In a very similar scoreline over in Wales, the Pulse comfortable got the win over the Dragons to the tune of 18 goals.
The match started right, but the Pulse kept building and building to eventually win the last quarter by eight goals and take the win.
Meanwhile Shaquanda Greene-Noel (six turnovers, four intercepts, two deflections, two rebounds) starred for the Dragons, as did Hannah Leighton (10 feeds, four deflections, one turnover, one intercept).
- Loughborough Lightning also flexed their muscles with a solid 18 goal win over the Storm to end the Storm’s regular season on a downer.
A 19 goal to 10 goal opening term from the Lightning really set the stage, and then even though the Storm won the second term, the Lightning again comprehensively won the third to put a stamp on the result.
Mary Cholhok (54 goals, three turnovers, two rebounds) was at her usual best for the Lightning, while up the other end Fran Williams (six turnovers, three deflections, three intercepts, three rebounds, one feed) also starred.
- The Rhinos picked up their third win of the season with a come from behind four goal win over Team Bath.
The Rhinos were 15 goals behind in the first half, but worked their way back into the game in the second half to take the victory.
Ellie Bird (42 goals, one turnover, one intercept) and Caroline O’Hanlon (42 feeds) both starred for the Rhinos, while despite a high personal penalty count Jayda Pechova (six turnovers, four intercepts, two deflections, one rebound) had a really good game for Bath, as did Dyke (25 feeds, one deflection, one turnover).