Vitality Netball Superleague: Round Ten preview
Live coverage of Loughborough Lightning vs Wasps Netball gets underway at 6.45pm on Monday on Sky Sports Mix, Action & Main Event
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 18/03/19 8:29pm
Round Ten of Vitality Netball Superleague offers every side a second meeting against the team they faced at Super 10.
On Monday night at the Copper Box Arena, the full-time whistle marked the halfway point in the season and pre-season predictions of a high-quality and hotly-contested league are coming true.
The race for the top four is well and truly on, the tussle at the top is tight, and those sides towards the bottom of the table are improving week on week.
This round, Sky Sports will be at the Sir David Wallace Arena for Loughborough Lightning's meeting with Wasps Netball on Monday, March 18. The match is live on Sky Sports Mix Action and Main Event from 6.45pm.
Before then, grab a coffee and dive into the detail of every Round Ten encounter...
Vitality Superleague - Round Ten fixtures
|Saturday, March 16||Team Bath||vs||Celtic Dragons|
|Surrey Storm||vs||Strathclyde Sirens|
|Saracens Mavericks||vs||Manchester Thunder|
|London Pulse||vs||Severn Stars|
|Monday, March 18|
|L'boro Lightning||vs||Wasps Netball||Live on Sky Sports Mix, Action and Main Event from 6.45pm|
Team Bath vs Celtic Dragons, Saturday at 5pm
Despite leading from start to finish against London Pulse, Team Bath were pushed until the final moments in Round Nine.
After the match, their head coach Jess Thirlby had positives to take, including the return of Serena Guthrie and court time for youngsters Leila Thomas and Abi Robson, but she wasn't wholly happy overall.
Thirlby is also aware of the improvement that Dragons have made and is clear on the threats that their visitors will possess.
"We beat Dragons 58-41 at Super 10 on the opening day of the season but I think they will be a different proposition," said Thirlby.
"Bethan Dyke is back for them after injury, which makes a big difference, and they have had some good results and performances.
"I was at their game against Loughborough Lightning last weekend and while the result didn't go their way, they played well and we will have to be on our game."
Dragons had a very different assessment of that encounter with Lightning and will be fuelled by their resulting emotions on Saturday.
"I'm really disappointed with today's result and I have to say I'm the most disappointed I've been all season," said head coach Tania Hoffman after their Round Nine match.
"We didn't start well. I thought that after our great start against Surrey Storm last week that we would carry that into this week, but we didn't.
"We had quite a lot of turnover ball but against a side like Loughborough you can't then just turn it over the other way."
Surrey Storm vs Strathclyde Sirens, Saturday at 6pm
Surrey Storm's last meeting was with Manchester Thunder at Belle Vue and it was a match that was plagued by injuries, including Mikki Austin's in the last minute of the first quarter, plus one to Nicole Humphrys.
It's always horrible to see team-mates injured and performance wise it's a tricky thing to manage. Thunder's dominant start to the second half ultimately took the game away from Storm.
For Sirens, a debut fixture at Oriam Performance Centre in Edinburgh didn't end with the result that they wanted as they fell 68-38 to a clinical Saracens Mavericks.
Such an impressive venue @Oriamscotland 🙌Thanks to @SirensNetball for a well contested game,proud nation & fans @ClaraNels inspirational lead for 🏴👏 Even bigger thanks to the wonderful Uber driver, @GillCro62 & Oriam staff for returning my laptop & life,1,000 thankyou’s!😱🤦♀️🤓 https://t.co/DB1MDaSiLC— Kathryn Ratnapala (@katratnapala) March 11, 2019
The Scottish side led 15-14 at the end of the first quarter, but found themselves 32-24 down at the interval. A dominant third from the visitors took the game further out of their reach and Sirens' quest for a third victory of the season goes on.
Saracens Mavericks vs Manchester Thunder, Saturday at 6pm
"Reaching the halfway point of the season in the top four is absolutely where we wanted to be at this stage, but we are under no illusions that there is a lot more work to come."
Those are the words of Saracens Mavericks' director of netball Kat Ratnapala, and her team will arrive back home knowing that Manchester Thunder are a completely different proposition to their Round Nine opponents Sirens.
Back-to-back wins for Thunder, including a big scalp over Wasps, will fill them with confidence but their schedule of late has been packed.
Karen Greig will look for her players to rally their energy levels once again while Mavs will try and keep the tempo as high as possible to test their opponents. In all, with the strength of both squads, a high-quality match is set for The Hertfordshire Sports Village.
Fisher's diary: Your questions
George Fisher answers your questions in a special Sky Sports Netball Superleague diary including pre-match rituals, some great advice and more!
London Pulse vs Severn Stars, Saturday at 7pm
London Pulse's last encounter finished with a narrow defeat but, once again, the competition's newest outfit showed that they are edging ever-closer to a second league victory.
Of all of the matches at Super 10, this one was the closest and Pulse will feel that have their opponents' number. For Stars, like all sides, their simple goal will be to turn up to the Copper Box Arena and show just how much they have progressed since day one.
If Pulse cut their error count and drive their consistency for the full 60 minutes then they will make life incredibly challenging for their visitors and could find that elusive win.
The question is, will memories from Birmingham get to either side? You expect not but in sport, you just never know...
Loughborough Lightning vs Wasps Netball, Monday - Live on Sky Sports Mix, Action & Main Event from 6.45pm
A tasty duel will complete Round Ten, live on Sky Sports, as these two familiar foes clash.
Lightning were caught cold by Wasps Netball in the opening round but are hitting this fixture at pace.
Sara Bayman's side have won their last four on the bounce, not all have been shiny and pretty wins, but they have been victories nonetheless.
Mel Mansfield's outfit returned to winning ways against Severn Stars in round nine (54-47) but produced an uncharacteristically shaky third-quarter. The type of quarter that a confident Loughborough would punish.
With two target shooters at each end, Rachel Dunn and Mary Cholhok, get set for some mesmeric takes and feeds on Monday night.
The challenge for both teams will be to put the pressure on early. Lightning will also look to shake their visitors up from the off and ultimately prove that a 30-goal loss to them at Super 10 is now nothing but a distant memory.
Watch live Vitality Netball Superleague when Loughborough Lightning host Wasps on Monday, March 18 live on Sky Sports Mix, Main Event & Action from 6.45pm. Also, Sky Sports will be showing every game of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup in July.