VNSL 2021: Round 4 – Monday wrap

ROUND 4 of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) is complete with Loughborough Lightning getting its second win of the round on the board as the Saracens Mavericks piled on the pressure to dispose of a weary-looking Celtic Dragons outfit. This round’s completion marks the end of the first grouping of the season, with the entire competition earning a week off after a huge opening three weekends on court.

Read our Sunday wrap HERE.

Celtic Dragons (41) defeated by Saracens Mavericks (61)

Player of the match: Georgia Lees (Saracens Mavericks)

It was a consistent and four quarter effort from the Mavericks that gifted the side its third win for the season, whilst also handing Celtic Dragons its fifth straight loss. With South African import Ine-Mari Venter finally stepping foot on the court following an extended lockdown and Jodie Gibson making her long awaited debut for the Mavs down back, the side was brimming with confidence to jump out to an early lead against the Dragons. The Welsh-based Dragons also made a number of changes to their starting lineup, with Annika Lee-Jones getting her first start out in goal shooter as Amy Clinton was forced to the sidelines due to a head knock, as Leila Thomas and Abby Tyrell started down back and worked their way into the match as the Dragons registered their first quarter win of the season, winning the second 13-12 to showcase how much they have to offer.

But it was the continual effort and spark of Georgia Lees that proved to be the difference, with the Mavericks wing attack seeming to have the ball on a string in attack and finding circle edge with ease, working well in tandem with Gabby Marshall to feed ball into the circle. Whilst Venter and Gibson left the court at half time due to COVID return to play protocols the side did not seem to skip a beat, as the Mavericks maintained momentum throughout the remainder of the match to come away with a 20-goal victory.

Loughborough Lightning (58) defeated Severn Stars (30)

Player of the match: Ella Clark (Loughborough Lightning)

Loughborough Lightning continued its excellent start to the 2021 season with another win to add to its hefty tally, and whilst the Stars were fairly consistent throughout the first half, the side’s missing players became much more apparent as the match went on with the Lightning doubling their pressure out the front and skipping away to an 18-goal victory. Player of the match Ella Clark led the charge in attack, building on her early season form with another 25 goals on the board, starting in goal shooter for a change in scenery alongside Suzie Liverseidge, as Mary Cholhok made an instant impact taking the court in the second half. Despite the loss, Severn Stars have plenty of positives to take out of the match, namely its strong first half only trailing by nine at half-time, and missing a couple of crucial players in Liana Leota and Georgia Rowe.

Defensively, Jas Odeogberin and Alice Harvey impressed for Thunder, with Harvey on fire down back propelling the Stars’ forward forays. The physical battle around the court could not be stopped as the likes of Nia JonesLucy Harris and Bethan Dyke commanded ball through the centre, stepping up well in Leota’s absence against Lightning’s own top performers in Nat PanagarryBeth Cobden and Hannah Joseph.

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