Team Bath Netball win derby at the death to maintain perfect start to 2018 Vitality Superleague season
Head Superleague Coach Anna Stembridge has praised her players’ “resilience and determination” after a goal in the dying seconds against West Country rivals Severn Stars maintained Team Bath Netball’s perfect start to the season.
An epic derby match at the University of Worcester on Monday saw the Sitec-sponsored Blue and Gold trail 39-36 going into the final quarter but draw level at 40-40, only for Stars to respond with three unanswered goals to seemingly regain the momentum.
Team Bath refused to accept defeat, though, and once again clawed their way back into the game thanks to some outstanding intercepts from Imogen Allison, Layla Guscoth and Eboni Beckford-Chambers.
The attacking players held their nerve at the other end of the court to make the most of those turnovers but the match looked to be heading to extra-time until, with less than ten seconds left on the clock, Chelsea Lewis netted the decisive goal to secure a dramatic 48-47 victory for the visitors.
“My voice is still recovering from all the shouting in the last quarter,” said Stembridge, whose side are one of three to have won all four of their matches so far this season.
“There are going to be games that go goal for goal, so for us to come out on the winning side shows the resilience and determination within this squad to absorb pressure and respond.
“Stars got a bit of a run on us in the second quarter and opened up a lead but we made a number of changes and that had a real impact on the game.
“We were absolutely outstanding in defence right across the court, winning ball at critical moments, and those crucial turnovers that we were able to convert into goals at the other end ultimately made the difference.”
The Blue and Gold’s busy period continues on Friday when they welcome UWS Sirens to the Team Bath Arena (centre-pass 7.30pm). The Scottish franchise recorded their first win of the season on Monday, beating Team Northumbria 45-40, and include former Team Bath players Claire Brownie, Rachel Dunn and Shantal Slater amongst their ranks.
The Sirens match is the second of three home games on successive Fridays for Team Bath, with the meeting against Manchester Thunder on March 9 now being televised live on Sky Sports.
Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec and supported by partners Mogers Drewett, Investigo and Netball South West. Centurion Chartered Financial Planners are supporting the team’s performance analysis capabilities, Viper 10 are their Sportswear Supplier and Skins provide the team with compression wear.
Severn Stars starting 7: GS Eleanor Cardwell, GA Maryka Holtzhausen, WA Laura Rudland, C Laura Malcolm, WD Jodie Gibson, GD Samantha Cook, GK Phumza Maweni. Replacements: Rosie Allison, Sophie Carter, Amanda Davis, Dominque Ford-Gordon, Shona O’Dwyer.
Team Bath Netball starting 7: GS Kadeen Corbin, GA Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, WA Rachel Shaw, C Mia Ritchie, WD Imogen Allison, GD Layla Guscoth, GK Eboni Beckford-Chambers. Replacements: Asha Francis, Chelsea Lewis, Tash Pavelin, Paige Reed, Jess Shaw.
Quarter-scores: Q1 13-13. Q2 27-25 (14-12). Q3 39-36 (12-11). Q4 47-48 (8-12).