Mavericks crowned champions
Hertfordshire Mavericks are the 2011 Netball Superleague champions after clinching a 57-46 victory over Surrey Storm.
Last Updated: 10/06/11 2:05pm
Hertfordshire Mavericks are the 2011 FIAT Netball Superleague champions after clinching a 57-46 victory over Surrey Storm in the Grand Final.
Mavericks turned on the style in the final quarter to beat their London rivals on home turf at the University of Hertfordshire.
It was a close contest up until the final 15 minutes of the match when the six-time finalists changed gear to bag their second netball top-flight title.
Having topped the table for most of the campaign, and having won their regular season fixtures against their final opponents, it was perhaps a fitting result.
Storm improved as the rounds went by but didn't quite have enough in the end to upset the odds and beat the favourites.
Mavericks won the toss and made a brisk start to the match to establish an early lead. When they fell three goals down in the first minute of the match it all looked a little ominous for the visitors, who'd nipped around the M25 for the biggest match in their young franchise's history.
Shooters Louisa Brownfield and Rachel Dunn matched each other shot-for-shot, the latter notching her 800th successful shot of the season for Surrey Storm as she dropped the ball in the net to level the score at 4-4.
With a minute and 17 seconds on the clock Storm engineered a mid-court turnover allowing Dunn to convert and take her team ahead for the first time in the match; a straight forward centre pass was also netted before the whistle signalled time up and Surrey had a two-goal lead at the first interval.
The visitors picked up where they left off at the start of the second period that saw a little more cautious approach from both teams.
Close at half-time
In the 15 minutes the best Storm could manage was to double the lead, but they were unable to pull further in front and three minutes before half-time Mavericks rallied and converted a turn-over to help them get within one at half-time.
Game-winning changes were made at half time by Mavericks boss Maggie Jackson, though, as Brownfield came out to GA and Vicklyn Joseph took up position under the post, Layla Guscoth and Lindsay Keable also swapped duties in the defensive circle.
From that point Storm could not touch the Hertfordshire outfit as they levelled before moving six goals ahead.
Surrey's skipper Tamsin Greenway called a medical tine-out and, after treatment, used the opportunity to swap bibs with Gemma Cosentino, allowing her to move into the shooting-circle.
The game restarted and within a minute Storm had closed the gap by two goals before Surrey's Natalie Seaton was forced off with a severely dislocated finger.
Fran Desmond took her place, but the Mavericks stepped on the accelerator again and surged ahead into a seven-goal advantage although Storm did make the most of the final seconds of the quarter to cut the deficit to four.
But it was the Mavericks who finished much the stronger as the final whistle loomed into view.
With eight minutes to play Storm were still in the game trailing 45-42, but their opponents stepped up a gear and, perhaps with the memories of previous Grand Finals defeats spurring them on, pulled away in the closing stages to complete an ultimately emphatic win by an 11-goal margin.