Strong finish is the target as Blue & Gold face Loughborough Lightning in Vitality Superleague third-placed play-off
Team Bath Netball are determined to finish the 2019 Vitality Superleague season on a high note when they face old rivals Loughborough Lightning in the third-placed play-off on Saturday (3pm).
The Sitec-sponsored Blue & Gold narrowly missed out on a place in the Grand Final when they were beaten 57-54 at Manchester Thunder last weekend in a tremendous contest decided by the smallest of margins.
Despite the disappointment, Team Bath’s players and staff have taken plenty of pride and positivity not just from that performance but the season overall and want to do everything they can to close their campaign on a fitting note.
Team Bath Netball Head Coach Jess Thirlby, ahead of her final game with the Blue & Gold, said: “If we can’t be finalists then we want the next best result and that is to finish third.
“Our season is not yet over and both players and staff have been committed to another quality training week to ensure we finish strong.
“Loughborough are a dangerous side and will equally want to finish strongly after pushing Wasps in the first half of their semi-final last week. We had a great contest against them at home during the regular season, winning 57-55, and they have improved round on round under the guidance of Sara Bayman.
“They are strong right across the court and have a target shooter in Mary Cholhok who we will need to close down. We need to continue to be clinical in possession and capitalise off our turnover.
“We have had some of our best and most consistent performances in the last few rounds, so we will be looking for another display that we and our amazing fans can be proud of.”
Having had a few days to reflect on the match against Thunder, Thirlby believes the way her players went toe to toe with strong opposition on their home turf was another major step forward in the squad’s development and augurs well for the future.
“It was the most competitive we’ve been in a semi-final in recent years, so we’re edging closer and closer to making another final which is pleasing,” she said.
“It’s always tough to lose at the semi-final stage having played well. The margins were so small and there really was very little to separate the two sides.
“It was a game defined by a few critical moments whereby we fell just a little bit short but other than that I thought the team were outstanding for much of the 60 minutes.
“Those on the court gave everything they had and were supported by their amazing team-mates on the bench who were up off their feet, rallying them to keep going.
“Everyone showed incredible resilience and a will to win which has become a trademark of our performances this season and for that I am truly proud and inspired each week.”
Both Team Bath and Lightning finished level on 39 points during the regular league season but the Blue & Gold had the edge in head-to-head meetings, winning both of their matches.
Details of how to purchase tickets for the third-placed play-off – being played at London’s Copper Box Arena ahead of the Grand Final between Wasps and Thunder – are available by clicking here.
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.