Wasps begin Vitality Superleague title defence with dominant win against Surrey Storm
By Sky Sports Netball
Last Updated: 13/02/18 11:29am
Wasps began their Vitality Netball Superleague title defence with a dominant 68-43 win against Surrey Storm at the Ricoh Arena.
The meeting between both the pair, who have won each of the last three Superleague titles between them, marked the start of the new campaign.
Tamsin Greenway's side, who claimed the crown in their debut season last year, were the dominant force throughout the contest and pulled away from the visitors in the second quarter, building a big advantage to lead them to a successful start.
England centre Jade Clark, who left Adelaide Thunderbirds for Wasps during the off-season, impressed in her debut appearance for her new side and Wasps' netball director described the victory as a "dream start".
"It was a great start, you could tell we were ready for this and I knew that if we played like we can, we'd get a big win," Greenway said.
"There were a few silly errors at the start, but as the game went on you could see our players started to believe in each other and that's a testament to our team.
"Pressure only comes from what you put on yourself; I'm quite happy this team can handle being the side to beat as they showed in this game.
"Jade was outstanding today. She is a great signing for us - the quality she brings is clear to see.
"It's a dream start, but it's a long journey and we know there will lots of twists and turns along the way."
Rachel Dunn opened the scoring for the hosts, who were unable to call upon another new signing Renske Stoltz, and they continued to build the foundations for the victory through the first quarter as they led by nine going into the second period.
Wasps' talented 19-year-old goal shooter George Fisher linked up well with Dunn and another England international Natalie Haythornthwaite while Storm struggled to find their cohesion at the other end to enable Greenway's side to lead 35-19 at the halfway point.
The second half was notable for the Superleague return of Sophia Candappa, who appeared for the first time since suffering an ACL injury against Storm last year while Fisher continued to impress in front of goal, as she helped Wasps take a commanding 22-point lead into the final quarter.
Greenway used the dominance on the scoreboard as an opportunity to make changes in the final quarter and brought herself onto the court as the home side closed out the dominant opening day success.
Meanwhile, Loughborough Lightning opened their 2018 season with a 55-44 win over visitors UWS Sirens.
Lightning, who topped the 2017 table, were indebted to a player of the match performance by England Roses star Beth Cobden to hand head coach Anna Carter an opening win.
There was also a 52-39 opening weekend win for Team Bath on the road against Team Northumbria while Manchester Thunder edged Severn Stars 48-47 in another away victory while on Monday night benecosMavericks recorded a 61-49 success at Celtic Dragons.