Coach looks for team to push on to top-two
Team Bath head coach Jess Thirlby is looking for her team to push on and challenge for a top-two finish at the halfway mark of the 2014 ZEO Superleague regular season.
The reigning Superleague champions are currently third in the table with seven of their 14 regular season games played.
They face two key games in the space of three days with the long trip to Team Northumbria on Saturday (15 March) followed by a mouth-watering home tie against top of the table Surrey Storm at the Sports Training Village on Monday (17 March).
The top-four at the end the season will progress to the semi-finals, with the top-two having home advantage.
Team Bath put their disappointing home draw against Celtic Dragons behind them by beating Loughborough Lightning 58-47 in Loughborough on Saturday (8 March) night.
It was a game that saw a Superleague debut for University of Bath Sports Performance student Lauren Dent (below right), just days after her 20th birthday. The young shooter impressed, as did the more experienced Pamela Cookey, who came home with 100 per cent shooting stats.
“We had a really good first half performance and that was very positive for us as we haven’t always had the best starts this season,” said Thirlby. “We made some changes in the second half and we weren’t as cohesive, but there were some combinations out there that weren’t as tried and tested.
“Lauren did really well and it was good to see her come on and perform at this level,” she added.
Team Bath ran out 59-45 winners at home to a much-changed Team Northumbria side in their opening fixture of the season and Thirlby expects a difficult contest now Saturday’s opponents have bedded in.
She also expects a tough game against Surrey Storm on Monday night. Team Bath showed a great team spirit to battle back from a deficit to tie 48-all when they met in Surrey a month ago and remain the only team to have taken a point off the unbeaten Storm so far this season.
“We can take some confidence in the way we fought after that result and it will be an interesting game on Monday night,” said Thirlby. “Our target in the second half of the season is to try to creep up the table and get into the top-two. We’ve got to beat Manchester Thunder or Storm and hope some other results go our way.
“Surrey have been very consistent this season. We need to try to starve them of attempts on goal because Rachel (Dunn) is a big threat when she’s given the ball. We also need to make sure we retain possession against their defence, who are always pretty rugged, and we must make the most of our turnover.”
Carter Jonas are Team Bath Netball’s property partner. Surridge are the team’s kit supplier. Skins provide the team with compression wear.
The pre-match entertainment for Team Bath’s game against Surrey Storm gets underway at 7pm on Monday. Ticket details!
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