Friday thriller on the cards as Blue & Gold host Saracens Mavericks in Vitality Superleague play-off crunch clash
It promises to be a Friday thriller as Team Bath Netball go head-to-head with old rivals Saracens Mavericks in a match which will have a huge bearing on this season’s Vitality Superleague play-off race.
Both teams are level on 24 points, with Haines Watts-sponsored Team Bath currently occupying the all-important fourth position on goal difference. However, Mavericks have a game in hand and were the only team to do the double over the Blue & Gold during the 2021 Superleague campaign.
Anna Stembridge, Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach, said: “The old cliché is that every match is important, and that’s certainly true, but there’s no denying this is a really big game for both teams with the league being as tight as it is. There is no room for error and it’s not just about us gaining points but also taking points off others.
“There is so much history between the two clubs and I know this is a match the fans always look forward to. The girls are really fired up too, as you would expect, and the big games are the ones that have brought out the best in us this season.
“Four of our last six fixtures are against sides in contention for the top-four places and two of those games are against Mavericks. Some might look at that as being a tough run-in but it is the kind of challenge you want if you are going to make the play-offs – every game is going to be a like a final and we are ready for it.”
There will be a 1,000-strong crowd in the Team Bath Arena for Friday’s crunch clash (7.30pm centre-pass), which was rescheduled from last month due to Covid, and fans will also be able to watch the action live on YouTube courtesy of Sky Sports.
Team Bath, who are also supported by Rengen, will then head north on Monday to face undefeated league leaders Manchester Thunder in a match being televised on Sky Sports Mix (5.30pm).
Thunder passed 1,000 goals for the season during last weekend’s 88-57 win at Wasps but Team Bath went mighty close against them in the reverse fixture, being edged out 57-53 after leading for the first three-quarters of a high-quality contest.
“We were really disappointed not to come away with the win that day given how well we played,” said Stembridge. “The teams have been on different journeys since in terms of results but we always enjoy going up to Belle Vue, there’s a great atmosphere there, and we’re looking forward to seeing where we are against a team that many think will be champions.”
Team Bath Netball is supported by its Principal and Pathway Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts; Rengen Developments, who are an overall Team Bath Partner; Centurion Chartered Financial Planners and Ecus Ltd, our environment partner. Team Bath’s suppliers include O’Neills, 2XU, Pulseroll and Halo Hydration.
Picture credit: Morgan Harlow