Team Bath edge Loughborough Lightning in Vitality Netball Superleague thriller
Blue and Gold press home play-off hopes with crucial victory against rivals Loughborough Lightning in Friday night roller-coaster of a ride
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 14/04/19 9:12pm
Team Bath's crunch clash against Loughborough Lightning lived up to its billing in a rip-roaring Vitality Netball Superleague encounter won 57-55 by the home side.
They headed into the game locked on 27 points in the Superleague standings, and for long periods of an intense end-to-end clash between the rivals there was nothing between them.
The Blue and Gold made a strong start, but Lightning finished the opening quarter on fire with Ugandan ace Mary Cholhok making her presence known to the home defence.
Both teams were demonstrating some clinical finishing at both ends of the court in a breathless encounter which continued into the second quarter.
Loughborough star Natalie Panagarry looked to take control of the centre of the court, helping her side establish a seven-goal cushion at one point until Bath found some momentum before the half-time buzzer to close the gap to 31-28.
Bath head coach Anna Stembridge was forced into a change at the start of the third quarter when Sophie Drakeford-Lewis was replaced by Laura Rudland and she immediately settled alongside Kimberly Commane in attack as the hosts moved 49-42 clear.
Lightning came flying out of the traps in a roller-coaster of a final quarter as they piled the pressure on Bath. Dynamic duo Tuaine Keenan and Amy Clinton helped tie things up at 53-53 with just a couple of minutes remaining,
But Serena Guthrie and Summer Artman made two vital interceptions enabling the returning Drakeford-Lewis to deliver the goods for a famous win.
The victory sent Bath three points clear of Lightning and joint-second alongside Wasps Netball ahead of the rest of the weekend fixtures.
The Vitality Superleague continues on Sky Sports with four live games across a busy Easter weekend - from 1.45pm on Saturday, April 21 we have Sirens vs Lightning and Pulse vs Thunder and then from 3.45pm on Sunday, April 22 we have Storm vs Stars and Bath vs Mavericks.