Blue & Gold treat returning fans to winning weekend as fine Vitality Superleague form continues against Stars and Sirens
Team Bath Netball gave the returning fans plenty to cheer over the Bank Holiday Weekend as they stretched their Vitality Superleague winning run to nine matches with victories over Severn Stars and Strathclyde Sirens.
Spectators at London’s Copper Box Arena – back in the stands at top-flight netball matches in the UK for the first time since March 2020 – saw the Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold record a 45-32 success against Stars in Friday’s West Country derby.
University of Bath alumna Kirsty Harris made her first Superleague start at wing-attack and all 12 players in the squad enjoyed court-time as Team Bath continued to work on combinations in the build-up to finals weekend.
Player of the match Kim Borger once again excelled in attack but Team Bath Superleague Head Coach Anna Stembridge felt her side could have been more clinical, something she was pleased to see them address the following evening as a strong first-half performance set up an impressive 48-37 win over top-four contenders Sirens.
Inspired by a brilliant display from Rachel Shaw, the Rengen-backed Blue & Gold moved the ball quickly and with precision as they built up a 30-17 lead at half-time. Sirens, who went on to record a vital win over Saracens Mavericks on Sunday, kept battling throughout but it was Team Bath who took three more points to remain top of the table with two games to go.
“I think we were very clinical in the first half, we had to move the ball around quickly and utilise our triangles,” said Stembridge after the Sirens match. “We were just a bit in and out in the second half, which was disappointing, but we’ll make sure we address that.”
Player of the match Shaw added: “Sirens are trying to get into the top four so we knew they would come out hard but we had a game plan, we stuck to it and managed to finish the game off.
“There will be patches that Anna’s happy with and others where we’ll go back to the drawing board. We’re in the semis and trying to get through to the final, so there is work to do with each game.”
Team Bath now face two tough tests to finish the league campaign, with Mavericks – the only team to have beaten the Blue & Gold in 2021 – next up at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday 13th June (4pm centre-pass). Mavericks, currently seventh in the table, are among four teams battling it out for the last remaining place in the semi-finals.
“We want to have those tough games going into finals weekend, you want to be put under pressure and keep learning,” said Stembridge, whose side also face second-placed Loughborough Lightning on the final day of the regular season. “We’re still building and we want to get better every game.”