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Saracens Mavericks crush Team Bath in Vitality Netball Superleague
Mavs move joint-top with Wasps, who are not in action until Monday night when they travel to play Celtic Dragons, while London Pulse face Strathclyde Sirens
Last Updated: 16/02/19 9:46pm
Saracens Mavericks made home advantage pay as they moved above opponents Team Bath with a big 68-45 win in the Vitality Superleague on Saturday.
Mavs went with the same starting seven which narrowly went down to defeat against Wasps on Monday night, while the visitors suffered a double injury blow as captain Serena Guthrie and Eboni Usoro-Brown were ruled out of the fixture played at the University of Essex, Colchester, for the first time this season.
With seven titles between these two heavyweights, it was the hosts who converted at opportune times to open up an 18-10 lead in the first quarter with an impressive 90-per-cent shooting conversion rate.
Bath head coach Anna Stembridge had called Mavs "creative and athletic in attack and rangy and deceptive in defence" before the meeting and she was proving true to her word as Kadeen Corbin and George Fisher took the fight to the Blue and Gold through quick transition to dominate the mid-court battle.
Errors were costing Bath the chance to close the gap, while a composed Mavs team extended their advantage to 13 goals, taking a 35-22 lead into the break.
Birthday-girl Georgia Lees was enjoying a field day with a masterclass, finding space and delivering simple ball into Corbin and Fisher as Mavs moved 53-31 ahead by the end of the third quarter with a dominant display.
The play became disjointed in the final quarter as both teams went all-out in attack, but the result was never in doubt as Mavericks sent out a statement to the rest of the Superleague.
Player-of-the-match Lees told Sky Sports she was going to celebrate her birthday with lasagne and garlic bread.
"I'm really happy that after half-time we came out all guns blazing and pushed through," she said. "I really feel like we've made some progress from where we are today and where we were two months ago. Bath are definitely pushing for top four so we wanted to go today and stamp our authority."
Head coach Kat Ratnapala was pleased with the consistency her team showed throughout the game, but disappointed with attention to detail.
"We're not the finished article and we are still continuing to build. It is about what connections are building. We'll take it and move on," she said.
Bath director of netball Jess Thirlby admitted the performance was a "difficult one" to take without her two best players.
"This group are certainly better than the margin that they lost to tonight. It's disappointing but you can't give ball away that cheaply to a team like Mavericks," Thirlby said. "Our turnover was fewer and far between and when we did get it we weren't quite composed enough to make a dent on the score. We have faith in this group but they need to believe that."
In the day's other results, Manchester Thunder suffered a shock home defeat to Loughborough Lightning, going down 65-60, while Surrey Storm recorded their third win of the season with a 55-46 win over Severn Stars.
Watch more Vitality Netball Superleague action when Surrey Storm take on Loughborough Lightning on Saturday February 23, live on Sky Sports Mix from 5.45pm. Also, Sky Sports will be showing every game of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup in July.