Saracens Mavericks keep pressure on league leaders Wasps with victory over Stars
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 06/03/19 11:12am
Saracens Mavericks kept the pressure on the Vitality Netball Superleague leaders Wasps with a 64-46 away victory over Severn Stars at the University of Worcester Arena on Monday.
While the defending champions remain out in front on 21 points, Mavericks' sixth victory of the season (their third in a row) means that they cut the gap to just three points before Wasps' rearranged Round Two fixture on Wednesday against Manchester Thunder.
Kat Ratnapala's side were not put out by playing away from home. Instead they underlined their credentials as a potential end-of-season semi-finalist and led from start to finish.
However the side's director of netball was left disappointed at the end of the match, due to the fact that Mavs drew the final quarter with their opponents.
"We'll look back and there will be positives that we need to take from that game and move forward but my expectations of this group are big and their expectations themselves are big," said Ratnapala post-match on Sky Sports.
"You're never happy with what happened on court and especially to finish on that last quarter, it wasn't good. If we'd have finished on the third quarter, then we would have taken that and built through but we didn't."
Saracens Mavericks' next match will be a trip to Strathclyde Sirens on Saturday afternoon, before they return home to meet Manchester Thunder in Round 10.
Despite a slightly subdued post-match mood, due to their quest for perfection, the visitors to the University of Worcester Arena still navigated their way to an 18-goal victory and individuals at both ends of the court stood up.
The road to victory was led the exceptionally accurate shooting of George Fisher at one end, and the unrelenting work of the Vitality Player of the Match Jo Trip in their defensive end.
Trip, who plied her trade at both GD and GK during the 60 minutes, was everywhere on court. Her ability to read Stars' attack combined with majestic footwork to produce turnover after turnover.
Saracens Mavericks first put their foot on the gas at the end of the opening quarter and five minutes before the maiden pause, they enhanced a 13-10 lead into a 17-10 advantage.
Stars had the chance to cut their deficit to 11-10 but let that opportunity slip and that was to be the closest that they would get to their opponents.
In front of a noisy home crowd, Stars were able to turnover a considerable amount of ball of their own, especially from their energetic and tireless defender Sam Cook. However they were not able to produce the conversion rate to goal that they needed to make true inroads on the scoreboard.
At half-time, Saracens Mavericks had pushed into a 10-goal lead at 33-23 before both coaches decided that third-quarter changes were needed.
With Trip's dominance in defence, it was a surprise that the home side did not mix things up in their attacking end. Instead, they re-shuffled from C through to GK. Saracens Mavericks decided to move Gabby Marshall out from WD to Centre and slot captain Sasha Corbin in at WA.
Stars made a strong start to the second half and continued to show, in glimpses, what they can do. However they did not have the consistency during the quarters, or during the match as a whole, to really pressurise their opponents.
In the third, Mavericks remained focused and opened the gap out to 17 goals with six minutes before three-quarter time and at the final break in play, they led 53-35.
With the game won, the quarter that displeased Ratnapala so much arrived, while the energetic home fans continued to roar their team on and help them take a more positive finish into their Round Nine fixture against Wasps Netball.