Posted 7th Dec 2019

Team Bath with perfect nine points after first day of BiG Showdown

Team Bath go into Sunday with a perfect nine points from day one of The BiG Showdown. Mavericks, pre-event favourites, bounced back from a defeat to Knights to win strongly against Storm in their third game of the day and to hold joint second with Knights on six points apiece going into Sunday’s action.

During Saturday, the tournament paused to celebrate England and Team Bath stalwart Serena Guthrie who was inducted into the University of Bath Hall of Fame.

The BBC live-stream goes live Sunday at 09.15 on BBC I-player and website with all six final group games and the final featuring in the coverage. The BBC programme will remain live on I-player for 30 days from Sunday.

The story of Saturday’s matches began with a home win in the Westcountry derby with Severn Stars. All matches were played with shortened eight minute quarters.

Sunday’s winning team will receive the inaugural Lyn Gunson Trophy.

Match Report: Team Bath v Severn Stars

Team Bath started brightly with a 36-23 win over near-neighbours Severn Stars.  They led throughout in an encounter marked by pace and precision in attack with some flying and crowd-pleasing ‘takes’ in the circle from both Kim Commane and Sophie Drakeford Lewis.

Nia Jones put in a dynamic captain’s performance for Stars and Paige Reed caught the eye with some long-range success at goal-attack.   Former Blue and Gold shooter Shanaugh Craig came on for Stars at goal-keeper for the final quarter.

In the opening quarter Team Bath sizzled to a 4-0 lead but Stars settled and came back to within 1 goal at 5-4 before the home side closed out the quarter at 10-8.

Team Bath stretched their lead in a solid and fast-paced second-quarter performance to lead 18-14 at half-time.  The Blue and Gold worked patiently to feed into the circle whilst Eboni Usoro Brown, captain on the day, made a big intercept at 14-10.

In the third quarter, coach Anna Stembridge gave South African international Khanyise Chawane her debut at centre and brought on Rachel Shaw at wing-attack with Laura Rudland replacing Drakeford-Lewis at goal-attack.

Summer Artman, fresh back from England duty, joined Usoro Brown in defence and the lead eased out to 28-19 at the three-quarter mark.  They closed out the quarter out at 28-19 and the whole match at 36-23.

Team Bath squad:

Eboni Usoro Brown, Sophie Drakeford Lewis, Summer Artman, Imogen Allison, Abi Robson, Khanyisa Chawane, Mia Ritchie, Hannah Passmore, Betsy Creak, Rachel Shaw, Kim Commane, Tash Pavelin, Laura Rudland, Fionoulla Toner.

Severn Stars Squad:

Nia Jones (Capt), Bethan Dyke, Lucy Harris, Lucy Herdman, Paige Reed, Georgia Rowe, Chloe Carchrie, Ellie Gibbons, Jane Taylor (Sunday only), Hannah Howl (Sunday only), Harriet Sanderson (Sunday only), Shaunagh Craig

Surrey Storm v Knights: Match Report

The Knights, the UK’s leading men’s netball team, made their presence felt from the get-go at The BiG Showdown.  They worked their way into an opening encounter with Surrey Storm to emerge 35-32 winners.

Whilst storm started more strongly, the Knights were only two goals adrift at the first quarter break, 8-10.

Often trading goal-for-goal and to the interest of the crowd, the Knights played with raw pace and movement and used their totemic goal-keeper and goal-shooter, Daniel Jolley and Lewis Keeling respectively, to good effect.

Knights goal-attack and well-known netball coach, provided mobility around Keeling in the circle and a strong mid-court performance Knights were four goals up at half-time, 20-16.

Storm co-coaches Emily Nemeth and Dani Mugridge made some effective switches at half-time with Austin shifting to centre and the Surrey side produced greater penetration in attack to narrow the gap to just one goal 25-26 with the final eight minutes remaining. But a final, strong quarter brought the Knights to victory.

Knights squad

Patrick Buckely, Chris Green, Jesse Hadfield, Geoff Mackay, Jamal Nicholson, James O’Connor, Dan Ryan, Kelm Speck, Lewis Keeling, Jesse Badger, Dan Rix, Daniel Jolley, Simon Taylor.

Storm squad:

Mikki Austin, Karyn Bailey, Naimh Cooper, Jess Dale, Leah Goss, Emily Gulvin, Sophie Hankin, Katy Hughes, Leah Middleton, Laura Morton.

Match Report:  Strathclyde Sirens v  Hertfordshire Mavericks

Featuring international netballing sisters, Sacha and Kadeen Corbin, Saracens Mavericks opened their account with a strong first quarter in which they moved to a 4-1 lead at the mid-way point and 8-5 at the break.

Sirens used some pinpoint, long-range shooting to draw level early in the second quarter at 8-8 but the reprieve was brief.  George Fisher retaliated with equal precision at shooter for Mavericks who surged to a 17-8 lead at half-time.

Having hit their stride in that second quarter, Mavs coach Kat Ratnapala, fresh back from a stint as Assistant England Coach in South Africa, opted to shake up her line-up in the third period but the result was the same as the pre-tournament favourites led by 24-13 at three-quarter time and then 30-19 at the final whistle.

Sirens squad:

Gia Abernethy, Kelly Boyle, Natalie Bright, Cerys Cairns, Lynsey Gallagher, Claire Maxwell, Niamh McCall, Nicola McCleery, Emily Nicholl, Zanele Vimbela.

Mavericks squad

Steph Collard, Kadeen Corbin, Sasha Corbin (Capt) , Beth Ecuyer Dale, Chloe Essam, George Fisher, Georgia Lees, Gabby Marshall, Razia Quashie, Jo Trip.

Team Bath are sponsored by:  Centurion Chartered Financial planners and we are working closely this season with local charity Sporting Family Change to create impact on people’s lives through sport.

Match Report:  Team Bath v Knights

With both sides level on three points after each of their opening encounters, additional pressure was at play on the result of this match.  Team Bath took the lead early and were 18-14 ahead at half-time despite coach Anna Stembridge resting Kim Commane, Rachel Shaw, Khanyise Chawane and Sophie Drakeford Lewis for the half.

The changes opened up an opportunity for shooter Betsy Creak and goal-defence Fionnualla Toner to shine on their home debuts at each end of the court.  

As the second half got underway, Commane came on at goal-attack with Tash Pavelin subbing at goal-defence with Toner swapping to wing-defence. Rudland moved to wing-attack and Ritchie came on at centre for Allison.  Soon the Blue and Gold had a nine-point lead (25-16) to close the quarter at 28-20 ahead.

An intriguing highlight came in the match-up between Eboni Usoro Brown at goal-keeper and Jamal Nicholson at goal-shooter. Nicholson’s soaring athleticism led him to vault the perimeter boards, the team seats and narrowly miss the table officials, chasing down one ball towards the end of the quarter.

Meanwhile Team Bath powered onwards to a 34-24 lead with four minutes go.  Dan Ryan moved back to goal-attack for the visitors but it was fans favourite Commane who stole the limelight in that position for the home team.  ‘Pocket-rocket’ Mia Ritchie flew about the court to feed the ball with busy-ness into the circle to keep the gap to ten, 38-28 at the close.

Match Report Surrey Storm v Severn Stars

Surrey Storm produced a comeback to savour in this encounter.  Down 13-18 just before half-time, they turned their fortunes around to emerge winners, 32-28 at the death.

Stars had earlier taken an earlier ascendancy, swiftly building a 7-2 lead before Storm settled and pulled back to 5-9 with a quarter gone.   In a well-contended second quarter, Stars still held a five-goal lead at 18-13 working the ball around the mid-court with consistency to lead 18-14 at half-time.

There were signs mid-way through the third quarter that Storm, whose defence tightened up to produce good turn-over ball, were eating into that lead and building a platform of confidence to produce the comeback which was hard-fought and deserved.  Perhaps tiredness played its part for Stars who only have 9 players here Saturday.

Match report:  Knights v Mavericks

Knights started strongly with determination to lead 10-5 at the end of the first quarter. Their defence put on pressure from the start in Mavericks shooting circle to turnover ball and, occasionally, to intercept on the fly. Mavericks found their flow through court, patiently sending the ball back to defence to work it into the pockets. 

Knights started off the second quarter as they ended the last with an intercept in the goal third and were rewarded with a goal by new signing Dan Ryan. Mavericks were quick to respond with Jo Tripp forcing the turnover. Mavericks shortened up the long leads through court, working the ball patiently into Frankie Wells and Chloe Essam in the circle but the score stood at 19-11 in Knights’ favour at half-time.

The men’s side, growing in belief with every minute of a pacey third quarter, moved to a 27-19 lead at three-quarter time.  Mavericks looked on the cusp of coming back several times only to be thwarted with some defensive intercepts and Knights made it three wins from three with a 38-27 final scoreline. 

Match report:  Team Bath v Sirens

With two wins already secured, the Blue and Gold squad took to the court for a final day-1 encounter with Strathclyde Sirens. The visitors were not entirely unknown. Claire Brownie (now Maxwell) and Zan Vimbele having both worn Blue and Gold in seasons past.

Team Bath built solid early leads at 7-2 and then 10-6 but, in the second quarter, Sirens began to make impact and were within a point mid-way through that second period.  Some long-range feeds to shooter Betsy Creak, initiated after defensive turn-over from Tash Pavelin and Imogen Allison, saw Team Bath ease back out to three points at 14-11 sealing the half at 17-13.

Sophie Drakeford Lewis combined well with Creak in the first half but with the re-introduction of Commane at GA she moved to WA.  Abi Robson stepped in for Allison at wing-defence with Chawane playing at centre. This quarter proved somewhat sticky for the home team and, with the score standing at 22-20, an overthrow into the circle turned the ball over to Sirens who converted.   With a minute to play they could have levelled but were turned over themselves, leaving Bath with two-goal margin at the start of the final quarter.

Stembridge switched out Chawane for Allison at centre as the only home-side change.  At 24-21 the Blue and Gold had two chances for a four-point lead and converted the second but Sirens still dug in and took two turn-overs in defence to move within two again at 26-24.

A scrappy few minutes saw neither side look after the ball well but Team Bath emerged to lead 28-24. A Toner intercept might have been capitalised on for a five-goal margin. Instead a Maxwell turnover for Sirens had everyone on the edge of their seats as the Scottish side came within seconds of levelling only for Team Bath to hold on to win 28-27.

Match Report:  Mavericks v Storm

Saracens Mavericks took no time at all to bounce back from their defeat to Knights.  By the end of quarter one they were 13-8 up on Storm.  

Their power and drive through the mid-court and feed into George Fisher served up goal-after-goal to give them a 19-11 lead with four minutes remaining of the second quarter.   Further defensive turnover, including a flying ‘take’ from Gabby Marshall, edged them out to 20-11 and then 28-14 at half-time, including an athletic score from Fisher in the final four seconds.

Mavericks applied further pressure to a tiring Storm in the third quarter to lead by 38-19 with just the final eight minutes to play which ended in a 51-26 victory for Mavericks.

Match Report: Stars v Sirens

The opening quarter of this game – which bookended day one – proved close with Sirens taking the honours by just a single goal at 8-7.

Both sides continued to serve up a treat as the score changed hands with the centre-pass until Sirens broke through to lead 15-13 with a just over a minute to go.  A turnover from the Stars centre-pass gave them another opportunity and they showed great patience and a spot of luck to work the ball multiple times into the circle to lead 17-13 before Stars snatched one back just before the break.

Sirens consolidated their lead in the third quarter and had a five-goal margin leading into the final eight minutes which they started with tenacity and never waivered building to a 10-goal win 37-27.

Final table after day one:

Team Bath won three lost none:  9 points

Knights and Mavericks won two each: 6 points apiece

Sirens won one and lost one within five:  4 points

Storm won one, lost two:  three points

Stars lost two within five goals:  two points

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