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Vitality Netball Superleague: Saracens Mavericks beat London Pulse, Thunder dismiss Dragons

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Coverage continues with two more back-to-back matches, streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 4pm; Team Bath Netball face Surrey Storm before Strathclyde Sirens meet Wasps Netball

Saracens Mavericks held firm against a tough London Pulse outfit (image: Ben Lumley)

Saracens Mavericks held firm against a tough London Pulse outfit (image: Ben Lumley)

Saracens Mavericks produced a determined display to beat London Pulse, while Manchester Thunder returned to winning ways at the start of a busy Vitality Netball Superleague Sunday.

Surrey Storm and Team Bath Netball are next on court in Wakefield, with their contest commencing at 4pm, before Strathclyde Sirens take on Wasps Netball at 6pm.

Round Seven of the competition then continues on Monday, with two matches live on Sky Sports Main Event and Mix from 5pm. First, Team Bath Netball will be back against Sirens, before Leeds Rhinos Netball meet Severn Stars.

    Watch Vitality Netball Superleague LIVE!VNSL 2021: Fixtures, coverage and resultsUpdated Superleague standings

Vitality Netball Superleague – Round Seven

Sunday Manchester Thunder 69-33 Celtic Dragons
Sunday Saracens Mavericks 39-32 London Pulse
Sunday Surrey Storm vs Team Bath Netball
Sunday Strathclyde Sirens vs Wasps Netball
Monday at 5pm Team Bath Netball vs Strathclyde Sirens
Monday at 6.45pm Leeds Rhinos Netball vs Severn Stars

Mavs and Pulse deliver in derby

Saracens Mavericks and London Pulse enjoyed an intense derby day, with both teams’ defensive ends showing their skills in Wakefield.

The victory for Kat Ratnapala’s side is their fourth of the season and will go a long way towards erasing the memories of a frustrating 34-34 draw in Round Six. For London Pulse, the contest again highlighted the talent that they have within their ranks, but a slower start than their rivals cost them.

Sam Bird had decided to field an unchanged starting seven to the one that helped Pulse create their first victory of the season last time out, while Ratnapala shuffled her hand.

With Ine-Mari Venter at GA and Kadeen Corbin at shooter, Mavs had plenty of height in their attack end and a potent defensive unit ready to back them up.

After leading by one at the first pause, Mavs upped their defensive pressure in the second quarter. Razia Quashie took Sigi Burger out of the game and overall, they forced Pulse into making numerous errors.

Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
Saracens Mavericks 10 11 9 9 39
London Pulse 9 6 11 6 32

With a 21-15 deficit against them, Bird used the break to introduce Lindsay Keable at GD in order to combat Venter’s presence. Keable’s arrival shifted Zara Everitt to WD and moved Funmi Fadoju‏ to the bench.

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The change paid dividends as Pulse cleaned up their work and increased in confidence. They won the third quarter by 11-9 and then drew back to within two with seven minutes remaining.

However, Mavs were ready for the comeback. They were able to withstand Fadoju’s dynamic return and unlike last week, they retained their position of advantage until the full-time whistle.

Thunder return to winning ways

Joyce Mvula scored 47 of her 50 attempts at goal (image: Ben Lumley) Joyce Mvula scored 47 of her 50 attempts at goal (image: Ben Lumley)

Following successive defeats last weekend, Manchester Thunder returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 69-33 victory over Celtic Dragons, who remain winless so far this season.

After holding a 36-18 lead at the midway point, they added another 33 goals to their tally in the second half and made life extremely uncomfortable for their Welsh opponents.

Quarter-by-quarter scores

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
Manchester Thunder 17 19 16 17 69
Celtic Dragons 14 4 9 6 33

Dragons had started superbly; they looked confident in attack and were reaping the benefits of Amy Clinton putting up 100 per cent of her shots. However, a 19-4 second quarter against them did the damage.

At the first pause, Thunder had introduced Alicia Scholes at WA, and her speed and vision helped the 2019 champions up the tempo significantly.

Listen to the thoughts of Karen Greig after her outfit’s victory over Celtic Dragons

Scholes was one of a number of young Thunder players that head coach Karen Greig trusted during the match, with Lois Pearson, Berri Neil and Elia McCormick also enjoying court time.

In contrast, Dragons’ head coach Tania Hoffman largely stuck with her starting seven. She was keen for them to problem-solve and work things out on the job, but throughout they had no answer to Thunder’s ability to feed Joyce Mvula, and then Eleanor Cardwell, easily in the circle.

Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues with two more matches, streamed back-to-back on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 4pm.

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