Exciting Easter weekend ahead as Blue & Gold face Severn Stars derby and televised Mavericks match in two days
Team Bath Netball face two massive matches in as many days over a big Easter weekend as the 2019 Vitality Superleague season builds towards an exciting conclusion.
The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold make the short journey to the UoG Arena in Gloucester on Saturday for a local derby against in-form Severn Stars (6pm centre-pass).
Both teams will then head up to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for an action-packed Easter Sunday which features three matches, culminating in a televised encounter between Team Bath and top-four rivals Saracens Mavericks (6pm centre-pass, live on Sky Sports).
All ten franchises play twice over an Easter weekend which will go a long way to determining who claims a semi-final place, with Team Bath currently sitting third in the table with four games remaining.
|Team||Played||Won||Lost||Goals for||Goals against||Difference||Points|
|Team Bath Netball||18||13||5||999||933||+66||39|
|* Stars deducted 3 points for fielding ineligible player|
They recorded a hard-fought 53-43 victory over Stars when the teams met in a rearranged fixture at the Team Bath Arena last month. Stars have won all three matches since then, including an eye-catching success at league leaders Manchester Thunder last weekend.
Mavericks, by contrast, have lost their last two fixtures – against London Pulse and Wasps – to leave them three points adrift of the top four but they were convincing 68-45 winners over Team Bath in the reverse fixture.
Here are Team Bath Netball Head Coach Jess Thirlby’s thoughts on the weekend ahead…
“It’s a big weekend ahead with 50% of our remaining matches being played within 24 hours and we’ll be aiming to seize the opportunity and strengthen our hopes of securing a semi-final place. We know we face some tough tests in our last 4 matches and this weekend’s opposition will demand us to be on top form.
“First up we meet Severn Stars for the second time in quick succession having only played them less than 3 weeks ago after our Round 4 match was rearranged due to snow. In true ‘derby’ fashion it was a tightly contested match with an 11-11 opening quarter but we built well throughout the match and finished strongly to take a respectable 10 goal win. We were pushed all the way by a spirited Stars side with some familiar faces in their line up and we are under no illusion that it will be another great battle. They come off beating Manchester Thunder away, a big scalp for them and with a target shooter in Rowe and shooting percentages regularly in the 90’s we will be looking to be clinical in possession of the ball and win ball early in defence. The capacity our team have is inspiring and that, combined with the grit and togetherness that was demonstrated again to close out an in-form Loughborough side last week by 2 goals will be needed again.
“24 hours later we will face a top 5 opponent in Saracens Mavericks who are also in the hunt for the that elusive semi-final spot. In round 6 we were far from our best when we played Saracens Mavericks away and we are looking forward to putting in a more characteristic Team Bath performance second time around. With the notable absences last time around of both Serena and Eboni we are confident that we have gone on to build some momentum and cohesion amongst the team and combinations and the match ups across the court will provide a spectacle for the neutral. Mavericks are a team full of flair with the likes of Sasha and Kadeen Corbin and Razia Quashie has also impressed at GK so we will need to stifle their flow and move the ball with speed and accuracy against their strong and physical defensive unit. With a recent loss against Wasps, Mavericks will look to bounce back when they meet Celtic Dragons in the first match of their double header weekend.
“The weekend presents a real opportunity for us build momentum and confidence and refine the areas we know need more consistency. It’s been a welcome challenge to plan and prepare for two opposition teams in quick succession and the players and coaches have all done their homework and the work ethic amongst the team has been impressive. We know what our strengths are and we need to capitalise on these and celebrate the good work. We have a full squad who are buoyant and ready for the challenge for what will no doubt be rollercoaster of a weekend for all 10 teams. Bring it on!”
Don’t forget, there is one more chance to watch the Blue & Gold at the Team Bath Arena during the regular Superleague season when we host London Pulse on Saturday, May 4 (6pm) – click here to buy tickets.
Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec and supported by partners Mogers Drewett, Soldi and Netball South West. Centurion 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.