Wasps beat Saracens Mavericks on the road in Vitality Netball Superleague
Last Updated: 15/04/19 8:56pm
Wasps beat Saracens Mavericks 58-51 to maintain the pressure on Manchester Thunder at the top of the Vitality Netball Superleague table.
With four rounds of the regular season remaining, Mel Mansfield's outfit sit on the same number of match points as Manchester Thunder (33) but are narrowly behind them on goal difference.
The victory, Wasps' 11th of the season, does create a nine-point cushion between themselves and their opponents who remain in fifth position.
On Monday night, the two teams were playing for the Mike Ho Trophy. Following the sad passing of Mike, the staff and team at Mavericks wanted to show their thanks and recognition for his four years of service to the squad as team physio.
The home side also used the match to promote the work of Mind, a mental-health charity which provides advice and support.
Vitality Netball Superleague - Round 14 Results
|Friday, April 12||Team Bath||57 - 55||Loughborough Lightning|
|Saturday, April 13||Celtic Dragons||59 - 49||Strathclyde Sirens|
|Manchester Thunder||47 - 50||Severn Stars|
|Surrey Storm||56 - 53||London Pulse|
|Monday, April 15||Saracens Mavericks||51 - 58||Wasps Netball|
The defending champions went into the encounter following a 15-goal victory over Team Bath in Round 13. In contrast, the home side were off the back of a loss to London Pulse.
Mavs' director of netball Kat Ratnapala has said that "real talk" and "tough lessons" had been the outcome of their loss. They commenced their night purposefully, gaining the earliest of turnovers and opening up a 5-1 advantage.
However, Wasps have not won 11 of their 14 matches for nothing, and with Fran Williams and Hannah Knights working hard in defence they converted back to 6-5.
The opening quarter continued like a game of cat-and-mouse, Mavs accelerated away only to be drawn back in again and at the first pause the home side had to be content a single-goal 13-12 advantage.
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The visitors were then the ones to fly out of the blocks in the second quarter, clearly frustrated by their slower start to the first, and put five quick goals on the board.
The rapid work of Jade Clarke and Bongi Msomi was igniting Wasps' attack while Amy Flanagan was proving her worth at WD.
As a result, a 20-15 lead arose. That lead turned into eight goals before Rachel Dunn slotted the final goal of the half to create a 31-23 half-time cushion.
With the home crowd behind Mavs' every move, they looked to make inroads into their visitors' advantage in second 30 minutes.
In the third and they put Wasps' attack-end under much greater pressure however the defending champions kept their cool to maintain a seven-goal 43-36 advantage with 15 minutes to play.
After the final pause both sides largely stuck to task, Mavs focused on doing everything that they could to disrupt proceedings and Wasps being well-aware that converting their own ball to goal would see them home.
A late charge, and the home side hitting a half-century of goals, had the fans in Milton Keynes roaring. However, Wasps had brought their A-game with them and duly took home all three match points.
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.