Vitality Netball Superleague: Saracens Mavericks return to winning ways, Loughborough Lightning strike twice

The competition continues on March 12 with Round Five and two back-to-back matches available to watch on Sky Sports Mix and on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 5pm.

Last Updated: 01/03/21 8:45pm

Jodie Gibson made her debut for Saracens Mavericks in Round Four and excelled (Image Credit – Ben Lumley)

Saracens Mavericks returned to winning ways with a 61-41 victory over Celtic Dragons, while Loughborough Lightning made it two-from-two in Round Four.

The victories for Mavericks and Lightning put the cherry on the top of another excellent round of Superleague netball in Wakefield.

If you did miss any of the action, then you can watch every match back in full on the Sky Sports YouTube channel. The competition is now pausing for a week before returning on March 12 with another bumper 10-match weekend.

Vitality Netball Superleague – Round Four Results

Sunday Severn Stars 27-60 Manchester Thunder
Strathclyde Sirens 35-30 London Pulse
Wasps Netball 47-33 Surrey Storm
Leeds Rhinos Netball 41-70 Loughborough Lightning
Monday Celtic Dragons 41-61 Saracens Mavericks
Loughborough Lightning 58-30 Severn Stars

Mavericks return to winning ways

Saracens Mavericks moved into the top four with a dominant 61-41 victory over Celtic Dragons.

Mavericks’ head coach Kat Ratnapala demanded a response from her side following their 25-goal defeat to Loughborough Lightning last time out, and they made a blistering start against the Dragons.

Ratnapala’s team news contained some great highlights, with Jodie Gibson making her return to court after long-term injury, and South Africa international Ine-Mari Venter stepping up for her Superleague debut.

Both excelled as Mavericks delivered an imperious start to the game. After reeling off seven goals without reply, with Venter scoring from everywhere, they opened up a 19-8 lead at the first pause.

Jodie Gibson is one of the most formidable athletes that I’ve ever met; she’s so driven and she’s so hardworking. It’s a full credit to all of the England medical staff and everyone, for getting her back on court. She’s such a passionate person and I’m made-up for her being back on court.

Dragons responded by making a slight tactical tweak as Leila Thomas and Abby Tyrrell traded positions, and they were inspired by Laura Rudland’s long-range shots in the absence of the influential Amy Clinton.

As the quarter played out, the teams went goal-for-goal before Clare Jones made a vital interception for Dragons. When the half-time hooter sounded, it confirmed Dragons’ first quarter victory of the season and they had reduced the arrears to 31-21 at the halfway mark.

Celtic Dragons vs Saracens Mavericks – Quarter scores

Celtic Dragons Saracens Mavericks
Q1 8 19
Q2 13 12
Q3 10 12
Q4 10 18
FT 41 61

Mavericks made a couple of changes at the interval, with Britney Clarke and Steph Collard replacing Venter and Gibson at GS and GD respectively.

However, Dragons were unable to nullify the attacking combination of Kadeen Corbin and player-of-the-match Georgia Lees, as Mavs edged a hard-fought third quarter to extend their lead to 12 goals.

Sasha Corbin and Chloe Essam enjoyed late cameos as Ratnapala was afforded the luxury of rotating her squad in the final quarter, while Lees continued to pull the strings.

Mavs defied any slender prospect of a Dragons fightback in the final quarter to complete a resounding 61-41 success, although there were positives for Tania Hoffman to take, as Dragons registered their highest score of the season against a formidable defensive line-up.

Lightning strike twice in Round Four

Loughborough Lightning completed a fourth-round double with a 58-30 win over a gutsy Severn Stars outfit.

After their 70-41 victory over Leeds Rhinos Netball on Sunday, Sara Bayman implored her team to go again and prove that they could “consistently rise to the challenge”, but they were met by strong resistance.

Sara Bayman had asked her Loughborough team to show that they were capable of stepping up to the mark again (Credit - Ben Lumley)

Sara Bayman had asked her Loughborough team to show that they were capable of stepping up to the mark again (Credit – Ben Lumley)

Stars, who were without both Liana Leota (arm injury) and Georgia Rowe (illness), hustled from post-to-post. They created turnovers well, and the result was a 10-6 deficit at the first pause.

The positive momentum remained with Stars for most of the second quarter, as Issy Eaton made a significant impact at GS and they frustrated Lightning.

In the final couple minutes of the half, Bayman’s players showed their ability to put quick goals on the board, though, and they extended their advantage to nine at the interval.

With the introduction of Mary Cholhok after half-time, and Ella Clark remaining on court, Lightning’s shooters enjoyed a significant height advantage over their defenders in the third quarter.

As Lightning pressed their foot on the accelerator, Stars just ran out of gas a little bit, which resulted in the gap widening and the final 58-30 scoreline not really reflecting the determined work of Melissa Bessell’s players.

Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on March 12 with Round Five and two matches back-to-back on Sky Sports Mix and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 5pm.

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