Blue & Gold will face Manchester Thunder in Vitality Superleague semi-finals following last-day defeat to Loughborough Lightning
Team Bath Netball will play Manchester Thunder in the Vitality Superleague semi-finals after defeat to Loughborough Lightning in the final match of the regular season saw them finish third overall.
Monday’s 54-35 reverse at the Copper Box Arena saw the Haines Watt-sponsored Blue & Gold finish behind Lightning and Thunder on goal difference, with all three teams locked on 51 points having recorded an impressive 17 wins from their 20 matches.
There was little to choose between the sides in the first quarter but Lightning were able to stretch their narrow 12-10 advantage into a 26-18 lead at half-time.
Team Bath Superleague Head Coach Anna Stembridge made some changes in the second half with one eye on Finals Weekend and said her squad will be determined to bounce back quickly from a disappointing end to the league campaign.
“It’s a difficult one and we are feeling quite deflated at the moment as it wasn’t the performance we wanted but credit to Loughborough, they really built the pressure and were pretty clinical,” she said.
“We have a tight turnaround and we have to be smart with our preparations. The players have to be good to go on Saturday as Thunder are a very tenacious side and in form, so we have to bring our double A game.”
The Thunder match will take place at 4pm on Saturday, with the other semi-final between Lightning and fourth-placed Leeds Rhinos starting at 2pm. The winners will meet in the Grand Final at 5pm on Sunday, with all the matches – including the third-place play-off – being played at London’s Copper Box Arena.
Team Bath Netball is supported by its Principal Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts, who are also a pathway partner, and by Rengen and Centurion Chartered Financial Planners. O’Neills are Team Bath’s official kit supplier and 2XU are their compression wear suppliers.
Loughborough Lightning starting 7: GS Mary Cholhok, GA Ella Clark, WA Hannah Joseph, C Natalie Panagarry, WD Beth Cobden, GD Jasmin Odeogberin, GK Samantha May. Replacements: Alice Harvey, Suzie Liverseidge, Lauren Nicholls, Lucy Parize, Hannah Williams.
Team Bath Netball starting 7: GS Kim Borger, GA Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, WA Rachel Shaw, C Serena Guthrie, WD Imogen Allison, GD Layla Guscoth, GK Eboni Usoro-Brown. Replacements: Summer Artman, Tash Pavelin, Abi Robson, Kirsty Harris, Betsy Creak.
Quarter scores (Lightning first): Q1 12-10; Q2 26-18 (14-8); Q3 39-26 (13-8). Q4 54-35 (15-9).
Picture credit: Morgan Harlow