Plenty of positives as Team Bath Netball beat Hertfordshire Mavericks and Surrey Storm in tri-tournament
Head Coach Anna Stembridge and captain Eboni Beckford-Chambers say there are plenty of positives to take from Team Bath Netball’s tri-tournament wins against Surrey Storm and Hertfordshire Mavericks on Saturday.
In front of more than 500 netball fans at the University of Bath Sports Training Village, Team Bath came from behind to beat Mavericks 33-28 in the opening match before holding on after a lightning start to defeat Vitality Superleague champions Storm 30-25.
All four of Team Bath’s summer signings – Beckford-Chambers, Chelsea Lewis and South African duo Karla Mostert and Lenize Potgieter – produced eye-catching contributions, while 18-year-old Alana John also took her chance to impress as Stembridge and Director of Netball Jess Thirlby tried out a number of different combinations.
“That was a really good afternoon for us,” said Stembridge. “All of the players took to the court, which was a massive tick, and we have a lot of positives to build on in the coming weeks.
“Lenize and Karla have only had training session with us before today but they fitted in well and it was brilliant to see Alana take to the court for the first time against that level of opposition. We were also able to get a lot of different combinations out there.
“It was particularly pleasing to win in two different ways, having to come from behind in the first match and then holding off a comeback in the second.”
Team Bath, backed by Carter Jonas, found themselves trailing 17-15 to Mavericks at half-time in the first match of the afternoon but a run of seven unanswered goals from Potgieter turned the game on its head.
It was a different story in the Storm match as Team Bath raced into a 7-1 lead against the defending champions and extended that advantage to 26-16 at the end of the third ten-minute quarter.
With the hosts taking the chance to switch their team around once again, Storm were able to find more consistency in the final period but Team Bath held on for another win.
“That means I have a 100 per cent record as captain!” said Beckford-Chambers, who was making her first appearance in blue and gold since returning from four years in Australia.
“It was great wearing the dress again and being out there in front of those fans, I was so proud.
“This was a good start for us as a group and gave us a real feel for the style of netball we want to play this season. It was a really positive day.”
The other match of an entertaining and high-quality afternoon was a 30-24 win for Storm against Mavericks, a repeat of last season’s Superleague final.
Team Bath and Storm will meet again in the opening match of the 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague season, taking place at the Genting Arena in Birmingham as part of Super Saturday.
All eight franchises will be in action on the day, culminating in Team Bath’s match against the champions at 8pm.
It is taking place on Saturday, January 30 and tickets are selling fast. For more information or to buy tickets for Team Bath’s 2016 home matches at the Sports Training Village, go to www.teambath.com/events/ticketline.