Third-quarter flurry proves decisive but Team Bath Netball take positives from improved display in Superleague defeat at Lightning
Head Coach Anna Stembridge admitted she had mixed emotions after Team Bath Netball produced an improved performance but were beaten 52-46 at Loughborough Lightning in the Vitality Superleague on Monday.
The Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold were looking for a response to the previous week’s disappointing display against league leaders Manchester Thunder and got off to a strong start against the team sitting second in the table, winning a competitive first quarter 12-10.
There remained little between the teams during a defence-dominated second quarter as the old rivals went into half-time locked at 21-21. Lightning edged into a four-goal lead early in the third quarter but, with replacement Hannah Passmore making a good impact at shooter, Team Bath hit back brilliantly to draw level again with five minutes of the period remaining.
However, the home side clinically punished a couple of mistakes to score eight of the next 10 goals during what proved to be a decisive few minutes and take a 39-33 lead into the final quarter.
Team Bath kept battling away but couldn’t quite close the gap. Despite the defeat, they remain fourth in the table and three points clear of Saracens Mavericks in the race for the play-offs, with their next two crucial matches away to Celtic Dragons on Monday 16th May and home to Wasps on Friday 20th May (both 7.30pm).
Stembridge told Sky Sports after the game: “We’re gutted not to get the points that we wanted but proud of the response and we’ll make sure we come out fighting next week.
“It was a much better performance than last week [against Thunder]. We started well and were clinical with our given and gained possession but you would expect a response from Loughborough. They managed to stifle us and cause us to be a little tight, we stopped giving the ball that we had been doing in the first quarter.”