Coverage of the Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Sunday with Round Eight and four matches back-to-back streamed live on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 12pm
London Pulse and England Futures’ Halimat Adio will be keeping us up to date with the Vitality Superleague season with her regular player’s diary
London Pulse’s Halimat Adio is back with her second player diary of the season. This time around, she talks through Pulse’s recent matches, shares what it is like to juggle a Biomedical Science degree and Superleague netball, plus she updates us on a new addition to her lockdown hobbies!
So, since we last chatted, we had a double weekend against Loughborough Lightning and Celtic Dragons, and then a match against Saracens Mavericks in Round Seven. As this column is all about stepping inside the Superleague, let’s start with my take on the three matches…
Against Lightning, a team we knew had been flying so far, we went into it looking to really challenge and ask questions of them. I think that we did that, and we showed them what we’re all about.
We were in it for the first two quarters and then we just allowed them to pull away, which was frustrating but avoiding that comes with experience and we’re still developing as a team. Loughborough have been together for a few seasons now and as a squad (and as players) many of us are enjoying week-in-week-out netball for the first time.
Vitality Netball Superleague: Round Seven review
Watch Vitality Netball Superleague on Sky Sports
With last season being cut short, we’re in our first real run as a ‘new’ franchise and I know that we’re going to keep on learning and adapting. So, despite the loss, we really did take the positives from that match and you saw it against Dragons; we went hard and the 20-3 second quarter showed that we weren’t messing about! I was really pleased with the way that we took that win.
Then last weekend against Mavs took a bit of processing, because I thought that we could have beaten them… at one point we were two down and we just made the same mistake of letting them get away from us. Again, it’s frustrating but it’s where we just need to learn and make sure that we take on board these experiences.
With our team, we’ve got the physical fitness and the skills, but we need to continue learning how to process the mental pressure that comes with goal-for-goal games against more experienced sides. If we can learn how to do that, I really do think it will help us turn some of these games into wins.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Round Eight Fixtures
|Sunday at 12pm||Manchester Thunder vs Leeds Rhinos Netball||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Sunday at 2pm||London Pulse vs Team Bath Netball||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Sunday at 4pm||Loughborough Lightning vs Strathclyde Sirens||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Sunday at 6pm||Wasps vs Celtic Dragons||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Monday at 5.15pm||Saracens Mavericks vs Severn Stars||Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Mix, plus streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Monday at 7.15pm||London Pulse vs Leeds Rhinos Netball||Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Mix, plus streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
We’re still a newbie!
What people don’t realise, or are perhaps forgetting, is that we are still pretty new as a squad together and as individuals. With me, I’ve been in the Superleague for five years, but I’ve probably played about 20 matches total or maybe even less than that.
At Mavs and Wasps, I was playing quarters here and there, then when I joined Stars I played four or five games and got injured, so London Pulse was going to be where I was going to look to get constant court time… and then the 2020 season was cancelled!
London Pulse have a two-match round this weekend against Team Bath Netball and Leeds Rhinos Netball (Image Credit – Ben Lumley)
Yes, we’ve got Lindsay (Keable) and Michelle (Drayne) who’ve got heaps of experience but really as a whole group we’re quite new and a lot of our starting seven haven’t played loads in the league.
We’ve got Funmi (Fadoju), who is so dynamic and raw, then people like Ellie (Rattu) and Ash (Dekker) who are in a Superleague squad for the first time. So, we know that we’ve still got a lot to learn, but that’s the exciting bit and I know that Sam’s excited about the potential of this team too.
The Juggling Act
Like lots of us in the league, I’m juggling studying and my netball. For me, the studying side is the final year of my Biomedical Science degree at Coventry Uni. I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot of pressure and there’s a lot of organising involved.
I go back-and-forth to my lab, I need to make sure that I’m at training and then I also try and make the extra sessions to show that if I can make them, everyone should be able to. I think the pressure of having my degree and my netball actually helps me a little bit, because I’m going through a lot it means that I have less time to think!
Sam (Bird) and Dannii (Titmuss) know me really well, and they know that I’m a massive over-thinker so I do get a bit stressed at times… but they reassure me that I don’t need to go through it by myself and that I’ve got lots of people I can talk to. Talking really does help and if I need to have a cry that’s okay too. The support I’ve got through Pulse is so helpful, it makes me a better player and also a better leader on court.
As a club, we think that it’s really important to be there for each other as people. We make sure that things away from the court are celebrated, like Sam’s birthday last weekend. On Sunday morning at breakfast in the team hotel, we all sung ‘Happy Birthday’ and then gave her cake, wine, chocolate and some balloons.
You might remember that in my first column, I shared a few of my lockdown hobbies – knitting, crocheting, hair braiding and playing the keyboard. I’m still on board three of the four; I’ll braid my mum’s or my sister’s hair and the knitting and crocheting has stayed.
My goal is to be able to crochet a top… well, let me tell you that’s quite difficult (more than it looks), and although I keep on getting mixed up with different bits, I’m still on it!
The keyboard has been replaced and it’s been replaced by a hobby that Sam as my head coach might not like so much… roller-skating – I’m going to keep those for the off-season!
Anyway, that’s a bit of an update from me and a round-up of the last couple of weeks. Now, it’s time to look ahead to another double-header weekend and get ready for our matches against Bath and Rhinos. I’ll be back again soon…
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Sunday with Round Eight and four matches back-to-back, streamed live on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 12pm.