Vitality Netball Superleague preview: Round 7

ROUND 7 of the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague begins on Friday, in a round that could see some big matchups across the board. Loughborough Lightning will take on Surrey Storm at home, a side that is building confidence after two consecutive weeks on the winners list. Though sitting on the same number of points, Lightning have lost their past two matches, making this game an intriguing matchup. Meanwhile fourth placed Team Bath will take on high flyers, Wasps Netball, after an unsteady few weeks, and the exciting Saracens Mavericks host bottom ranked London Pulse.

Strathclyde Sirens will host Severn Stars at 7pm on Saturday night at Emirates Arena. It has been a sloppy few weeks for both sides as they’ve been unable to string consistent wins together so far. Sirens are sitting at a 2:4 win/loss ratio, while Stars are sitting behind at 1:4 based on a missed match against Team Bath, which is yet to be rescheduled. Sirens are coming off a well-deserved win in Round 6, beating bottom of the ladder, London Pulse by six goals, while the Stars have gone almost a month without a win and are the only side to have lost to Pulse. With both sides sitting at the lower end of the ladder, it will be interesting to see how this matchup plays out.

At 7:30pm on Friday evening, fourth-seated Team Bath will take on top of the ladder, Wasps Netball at Team Bath Arena. Bath have slowed down over the last few weeks, not putting out the performance that they could be while missing Serena Guthrie and Eboni Usoro-Brown. Bath certainly still have enough strength in their midcourt to get the job done, but will need to take the court with confidence this week regardless of whether their star players take the court, or else will be run over by a dominant Wasps side. In comparison, the Wasps are sitting at full strength with a five-game strong streak and bounds of confidence. Bath fans will be hoping their home advantage will help on the way to a win over the current ladder leaders.

A battle for the middle of the ladder will be Saturday’s only match, as fifth-ranked Surrey Storm host sixth-ranked Loughborough Lightning at 6pm at Surrey Sports Park. Storm are on a two game winning streak, with their confidence and odds improving every week, while Lightning conjured a surprise five-goal win over highly ranked Manchester Thunder in Round 6, showing that they still have plenty of good netball to come this season. If Bath lose to Wasps on Friday it’s highly likely that the winner of this matchup could come in and snatch up a top four position coming into Round 8.

Saracens Mavericks have shown their strength over the past week, dominating Team Bath last week by 23 goals. They take on bottom of the ladder, London Pulse on Monday night at Hertfordshire Sports Arena at 7pm, so are likely to dominate once more unless Pulse can pull a surprise win out of the bag. Despite a strong work ethic down the court, Pulse have been unlucky thus far in 2019 and haven’t been able to get a win since Round 1. If Pulse can challenge the Mavericks at the height of their strength, they could at least boost their percentage and prove their place in the competition. Mavericks are bursting with confidence after the last few rounds, having only lost to high ladder sitters Wasps Netball and Manchester Thunder by less than 10 points respectively during the season so far.

Celtic Dragons will host Manchester Thunder on Monday night at Sports Wales National Centre at 7pm to close out Round 7. With Manchester Thunder another team that has been consistently strong in 2019, eighth-placed Dragons will have a hard task getting on the winners list this week. Thunder are only sitting on one loss for 2019 so far, on the receiving end for the first time this season in last week’s exciting match against Loughborough Lightning. Thunder are unlikely to drop the ball two weeks in a row, especially coming off a surprise loss, with the ladder able to change at the drop of a hat. Dragons will want to redeem themselves after a disappointing loss to Wasps last week, having matched the top ranked side in both the first and final quarters last week.

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