Wasps sting early to silence Sirens

THOUGH it might have seemed like a dead rubber in many ways, Wasps Netball‘s victory over Strathclyde Sirens might have booked them a place in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) Fast5 Championship. The Wasps’ Round 20 win saw them move a full win clear with a 7-13 record from 20 games, leading the Sirens in the bottom three needing to win their last game. it was only a one-goal margin making the goal difference between the two just three goals difference, which means the Sirens will need to defeat last placed Severn Storm by four or more goals ons Sunday to steal eighth spot back.

  • Team
  • Strathclyde Sirens
  • Wasps Netball

Needing to win to give themselves best chance of a Fast5 Championship birth, Wasps Netball started strongly to lead 12-10 at the first break over the Sirens. There was not much between the sides, with the home team having more opportunities but not quite able to convert, as the teams headed into the main break with the Wasps 22-20 ahead. That low-scoring high-pressure game continued into the second half, with the Sirens able to nudge back one goal from the deficit to only trail by a single goal heading into the last. But yet again a frantic finish, the defences held up for the Wasps to secure a one-goal victory, 42-41. The victory marked the end of coach Mel Mansfield’s last game, having stepped down at the end of the season.

Despite being on the losing side, Towera Vinkhumbo was named Player of the Match for her five intercepts, seven deflections, seven turnovers and two rebounds in the Sirens’ defence. She worked well with Emily Nicholl (six deflections, two turnovers and one rebound) to style the Wasps attacking end, albeit in vain. Gia Abernethy (20 feeds, two deflections and one turnover) was strong in midcourt, whilst Niamh McCall (16 goals from 21 attempts) and Bethan Goodwin (25 goals from 29 attempts, two rebounds) tried hard in attack.

The winners had plenty of impressive tackles, with the defensive duo of Ella Powell-Davies and Josie Huckle leading the way. Powell-Davies had four intercepts, four deflections, six turnovers and one rebound, while Huckle picked up two intercepts, two deflections and three turnovers. Also working well in wing defence was Lauren Nicholls (six feeds, two deflections and one turnover) as Iona Christian (15 feeds) was able to create for Rachel Dunn (27 goals from 30 attempts, two rebounds) and Lucy Parize (15 goals from 19 attempts, 11 feeds and one rebound).

Wasps are now done and dusted in season 2022, with the Sirens relying on a win over the struggling Stars on the road to see if they can retake eighth spot for a place at the Fast5 Championship.

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