Posted 10th Feb 2019

Plenty to be proud of as breathtaking Blue & Gold storm to emphatic away Superleague success at Loughborough Lightning

Anna Stembridge has hailed Team Bath Netball’s biggest Vitality Superleague win of the 2019 season so far – Saturday’s 75-50 victory at Loughborough Lightning – as a “performance to be proud of”.

The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold were dominant right across the court as they produced the perfect response to their disappointing home defeat to Surrey Storm in their previous game and moved level on points with Saracens Mavericks, who they visit in a televised fixture on Saturday (February 16, 6.30pm centre-pass).

“The girls really got their heads down after the Storm game and it was pleasing to see them respond like that, they put out a performance to be proud of,” said Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach Stembridge.

“Loughborough have had some personnel changes but they are still a really good side and the final scoreline doesn’t reflect what a well contested game it was.

“For me, what was most pleasing was the way we built throughout the match. It was quite close for the first ten minutes but once we found our feet, we really clicked into gear and finished the first quarter brilliantly to lead 22-12.

“They came back at us during the second period but it is important that we demonstrated we are comfortable when going goal for goal with a team and that was certainly the case on Saturday.

“We had a game plan that we stuck to for most of the game and we brought real intensity right across the court. We were relentless in defence as a team and we were slick in attack, displaying some really good ball speed.

“There was no sitting back on the lead either – we won all four quarters and maintained a high level of performance throughout, with the players who came off the bench – Leila Thomas for her debut, Mia Ritchie and Beryl Friday – all making an impact.”

Team Bath named the same starting seven that had lined up against Storm, with University of Bath student Chartie Curtis once again forming a good partnership with Summer Artman in defence.

Imogen Allison and captain Serena Guthrie continued to forge an excellent understanding just in front of the back two, breaking up play and linking brilliantly with the dynamic attacking trio of Rachel Shaw, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and Kim Commane.

Australian shooter Commane was in ruthless form as she converted 43 of her 45 shots as Team Bath continued to pull away, going 39-25 up at half-time and stretching their advantage to 56-37 in the third quarter before wrapping up an emphatic victory.

“Kim was sensational on Saturday, both in terms of creativity and her shooting,” Stembridge added. “A 96 per cent conversion rate is outstanding and she demonstrated great leadership at critical times as well.”

It was Team Bath’s third away win of the season and they will be looking to maintain that perfect record on the road when they visit the University of Essex to face fourth-placed Mavericks, who were edged out 54-50 by table-topping Wasps on Monday.

“There has always been a great rivalry between Team Bath and Mavericks over the years and some memorable matches,” said Stembridge.

“We have done our homework and will be looking to put out a well thought-out game plan for the full 60 minutes. Mavericks are creative and athletic in attack and are rangy and deceptive in defence, so we will have to be smart with our approach. We’re looking forward to the match, it should be a good contest.”

Team Bath’s next two home matches – against Wasps on February 22 and Manchester Thunder on March 1 – have sold out but tickets are available for the five other scheduled fixtures at the Team Bath Arena. Click here for more information.

Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec and supported by partners Mogers DrewettSoldi and Netball South WestCenturion Chartered Financial Planners are supporting the team’s performance analysis and people development capabilities, Viper 10 are their Sportswear Supplier and Skins provide the team with compression wear.

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