Posted 15th Mar 2024

Improved showing but Team Bath Netball are unable to build on strong start as Super League rivals Saracens Mavericks hit back

Team Bath Netball were unable to build on a strong first quarter as Super League rivals Saracens Mavericks hit back to win 60-48 at the Team Bath Arena on Friday.

Roared on by a 1,600-strong crowd, the Blue & Gold raced into a 15-12 lead after an excellent opening 15 minutes and could have been further clear.

However, mistakes crept back into their game which allowed Mavericks to put a couple of runs of goals together and pull clear. They led by six at half-time, then 12 at the end of the third quarter and that gap remained, despite an inspired start to the final quarter by the home side.

Asha Francis, Team Bath Netball Head Coach, said: “It’s a frustrating result considering how we started the game. We can’t keep making more errors than the opposition – they didn’t make many in the second quarter but we did and that’s where the shift in momentum happened.

“I commend the defence again, we forced enough turnover during the game, but it’s about dealing with the physicality better. We knew they would come out and hit us hard, so finding space and time when there isn’t any is key.

“Each week we want to see development and we did again tonight. Growth isn’t linear and we have to recognise that we are an incredibly young but eager team who are willing to put in the work to get better. We will keep building and keep pushing.”

Kadeen Corbin is presented with her Fans’ MVP prize by Stuart Doughty. PICTURES: Will Cooper / Fever Pitch

Player-coach Kadeen Corbin was voted by the fans as winner of Team Bath’s Most Valuable Player Award, sponsored by Results Body+Mind, and received a bouquet, supplied by Flowers of Bath, from Team Bath Netball Franchise Chair Stuart Doughty.

“It was a well-contested game and evenly matched for much of it,” said Corbin, who converted 25 of her 27 shots during a brilliant display. “It’s not the end result we wanted but the fight today showed what this Team Bath side can do.

“Every game has been a good learning curve for us, irrespective of the scoreline. We had a really good training week and I think that really showed in the first quarter. Now it’s about how we build that into consistency in each quarter.”

Jayda Pechova puts Mavericks shooter Ine-Mari Venter under pressure

Team Bath were clearly fired up going into the match and got off to a confident start as good defensive pressure plus accurate shooting from Sophie Kelly and Corbin, against her former club, gave them an early two-goal advantage.

The hosts looked slicker right across the court and they could have led by more than 15-12 going into the break but an error-strewn start to the second quarter set the tone for the next 15 minutes.

Both sides struggled in the opening stages, with just three goals scored in as many minutes, but the introduction of Indiya Masser and Aliyah Zaranyika helped Mavericks take control of the game as they rattled off seven of the next nine goals.

Team Bath made changes of their own as Lily-May Catling came on at WD, with Phoebe Maslen and Bethan Dyke switching to C and WA respectively, but Mavericks were now in the ascendancy and they finished a physical, feisty half with a 30-24 advantage.

Kadeen Corbin converted 25 of her 27 shots

Lisa Putt was introduced at GK for a third quarter that started off much more evenly contested, with the teams going goal for goal during the first seven minutes. However, Team Bath have been undermined by runs against them in several quarters this season and that was the case again as Mavericks scored six out of seven goals to double their advantage.

Corbin kept the crowd fully involved with her trademark flair and some tremendous shooting but Team Bath found themselves 49-37 down going into the final quarter.

The home side needed to come out flying and – with Ellie Ervine and Sloan Burton making a big impact off the bench and Pechova back on court – they did so as they scored six of the first eight goals to raise the roof in the Team Bath Arena.

Mavericks managed to slow the momentum but the quarter finished even at 11-11 as Team Bath ended the game on a positive note.

Next up for Team Bath are successive away trips, to Surrey Storm on Saturday 23rd March (6pm) and table-topping Manchester Thunder on Saturday 30th March (5pm), before back-to-back home matches against Leeds Rhinos on Friday 5th April and Cardiff Dragons on Friday 12th April (both 7.30pm). Tickets for those matches are available to purchase online at netball.teambath.com/tickets.

Team Bath Netball is supported by Bath Building Society and Rengen Developments, who are both overall Team Bath Partners. Flyhawk supply Team Bath’s performance clothing and off-court apparel.

Match stats

Team Bath Netball starting combination: GS Kadeen Corbin, GA Sophie Kelly, WA Kirsty Harris, C Bethan Dyke, WD Phoebe Maslen, GD Tash Pavelin, GK Lisa Putt. Impact players: Emma Barrie, Sloan Burton, Lily-May Catling, Ellie Ervine, Jayda Pechova.

Saracens Mavericks starting combination: GS Ine-Mari Venter, GA Emma Thacker, WA Georgia Lees, C Ellie Rattu, WD Jodie Gibson, GD Vicki Oyesola, GK Razia Quashie. Impact players: Britney Clarke, Anna Fairclough, Indiya Masser, Kira Rothwell, Aliyah Zaranyika.

Quarter scores (Team Bath Netball first): Q1 15-12. Q2 24-30 (9-18). Q3 37-49 (13-19). Q4 48-60 (11-11).

Attendance: 1,600.

Team Bath Fans’ MVP, sponsored by Results Body+Mind: Kadeen Corbin.

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