Vitality Netball Superleague wrap: Round 4

WITH bad weather warnings and temperatures looking to drop below zero on Friday evening, round four of the Vitality Netball Superleague began with a postponed match for Team Bath and Severn Stars due to the snow. It was looking to be a tight matchup between fourth and fifth on the ladder, set to shake up the competition, however will be rescheduled for another date (to be confirmed). With all remaining round four matches won in the third quarter, losing teams will want to clean up their act come round five.

Saturday’s games began with home side Surrey Storm taking on ladder leaders Wasps Netball, losing 47 – 70 despite a strong and confident start. Wasps put on the accelerator in the third quarter, shooting 21 goals to six as the Storm lost confidence in their ability to put ball to post. Storm shooting pair, Sigi Burger and Rhea Dixon were unstoppable early on, slotting shots from all over the goal circle against a sloppy Wasps defence. The momentum changed after the first quarter, with Wasps holding their own and taking back control, despite a strong defensive effort by Storm defender Lorraine Kowalewska to keep Wasps goaler Rachel Dunn away from the post. Wasps put on a clinic in the third quarter, showing the rest of the competition why they are sitting comfortably at the top of the ladder. Storm will be disappointed in their inconsistent gameplay and low third quarter score which dropped them down to tenth on the ladder, so will be looking to bounce back next week against ladder dwellers London Pulse.

Loughborough Lightning took on the Strathclyde Sirens on Saturday, beating the Sirens at home 60 – 49. Despite not being a high ladder game, Lightning took charge early in the second half, shooting 18 to 12 in the third quarter to pull away from a dragging Sirens side, before batting off a final quarter 15 – 11 comeback by the Sirens. Lightning shooter, Mary Cholhok received player of the match honours at her first home game of the season, dominating in the goal circle. Despite an injury scare in round three Sirens shooter, Cat Tuivaiti was back out on court to face off against efficient and pressure-heavy Lightning defensive duo, Vicki Oyesola and Tuaine Keenan. Gia Abernethy put in the hard yards in wing defence for the Sirens, running the ball through the midcourt effectively and pushing the ball to the circle edge for a fighting Lynsey Gallagher and Tuivaiti pair.

Celtic Dragons have been looking good in the Superleague in 2019 thus far, but struggled at home against the Saracens Mavericks on Sunday going down by 22 goals after an even goal to goal start. Mavericks’ strong streak continued after a shaky first half, however continuing with the theme of round four, went on to shoot 19 goals in the third quarter for a 36 goal second half compared to Dragons’ 19 goal half. Player of the match, George Fisher dominated in goal shooter with her teammate, Kadeen Corbin, while defender, Steph Collard made an impact down the other end, putting her long arms to good use intercepting. Despite some effective feeding by Dragons in the first half, they were unable to capitalise in goals. Defenders, Stacian Facey and Dee Bolakoro were strong for Dragons despite their tough opposition, while goalers, Chelsea Lewis and Kalifa McCollin kept up the tough slog despite the scoreline.

Round four closed with Manchester Thunder hosting London Pulse on Sunday evening, coming out for a strong first quarter effort to take the game home 62 – 47. Despite an even second quarter, Pulse struggled to keep up with the successful and unbeaten Thunder side in the second half, conceding 29 goals to 19. The return of Thunder wing attack, Liana Liota sparked a push through the second half that cemented her side’s victory. Liota slotted back into the side seamlessly with Kathryn Turner, Eleanor Cardwell and Joyce Mvula rotating in goals. The trio faced up against Pulse captain and English Rose, Ama Agbeze, who was raring to go in only her second week back from injury, while Pulse goal keeper, Loreen Ngwira lined up for the first time against Malawi teammate and Thunder shooter Mvula. Thunder centre, Caroline O’Hanlon was the standout in midcourt, dominating and decimating Pulse’s strong efforts through the middle third, and was named player of the match. Pulse were unfortunately unable to capitalise on their first half efforts with unforced errors down the court, however are now off the bottom of the VNSL ladder.


Bath vs Stars   N/A
Lightning vs Sirens 60 – 49
Storm vs Wasps 47 – 70
Thunder vs Pulse 62 – 47
Dragons vs Mavericks 44 – 66

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments