Manchester Thunder beat Saracens Mavericks to join Wasps at top of Vitality Superleague

Manchester Thunder scored a hugely impressive 57-49 victory over Saracens Mavericks to move up to second in the Superleague, level with leaders Wasps.

With the champions not in action until Monday night, Saturday’s drama saw second and third collide and it was a rejuvenated Thunder who took maximum points from the Hertfordshire Sports Village.

Also on Saturday night, Bath drew level with Loughborough thanks to a dogged 56-50 victory over Celtic Dragons,, moving into the top four on goal difference while Surrey Storm and Severn Stars were also victorious.

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Round Ten – Results & Fixture

All eyes were on the game of the round in Hatfield, where Mavs and Thunder looked to put the pressure on league leaders Wasps and both teams showcased their skills from the off.

It was Mavericks who forged an early lead but having gone five goals clear, a Thunder fightback proved ample warning for what was to follow. Mavs held on for a 16-15 lead at the end of the first 15 minutes but the second and third quarters belonged to Thunder.

Very happy coach…. really tough game against a Solid Mavericks side that put us under a lot of pressure and made us uncomfortable , happy with the way we coped with feeling that way ,… https://t.co/PbjTlxGuq4

An imperious defensive display saw Thunder provide plenty of turnover ball for their attacking end to take full advantage of and with Joyce Mvula making no mistake, the visitors led 30-28 at the break.

An even start to the third quarter saw Mavs level on a couple of occasions but each time it was Thunder who found the defensive play to open up a lead and by the end of the third quarter Karen Greig’s team led by seven.

With Kerry Almond and Emma Dovey dazzling, Mavs were unable to find a way through, the introduction of Karyn Bayley with George Fisher moving to goal attack was a last throw of the dice but it was to no avail as Thunder took the victory.

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Team Bath were the first winners of the day, edging out Celtic Dragons in a thriller at the Team Bath Arena that ended 56-50 to the hosts.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats against high-flying Mavericks and Wasps, Bath had dropped out of the top four but a return to winning ways in front of the Sky Sports cameras last Monday was followed with a battling Saturday afternoon victory.

An evenly-matched first quarter ended level, but the introduction of England’s Serena Guthrie allowed Bath to open up a five-goal half-time lead before a determined Dragons chipped away to set-up a dramatic final quarter.

Leading by three another fast start saw Bath open up an eight goal lead but Dragons have been hugely improved this year and while they were never able to draw close enough to threaten a win they made Bath work all the way.

Also on a bumper Saturday, Surrey Storm kept alive their hopes of a top four finish, ending a run of two successive defeats with a 53-44 victory over Sirens.

The home side overcame a determined Sirens to claim the first quarter advantage, the visitors had taken an early lead but Sigi Burger helped Storm into a 13-11 lead which became a nine-goal lead midway through the second.

However, Sirens battled back and by half-time had closed to within six goals, only to see Mikki Austin’s charges go again in the third 15 minutes and end the quarter 41-31 in front.

To Sirens’ credit they took the final quarter 13-12 but it wasn’t enough to turn the game around and they stay ninth, one place ahead of London Pulse, whose wait for a second win of the season goes on.

At the Copper Box, Severn Stars produced a superb third quarter to power their way to a 60-51 victory over Pulse.

As expected their was little between the teams and Pulse edged their way into a 28-25 lead at the break before an inspired third quarter from the visitors.

Stars won the crucial period 20-10 and maintained their advantage in the final 15 minutes to record a dominant victory, but only after a fiercely-contest first half that once again underlined Pulse’s credentials.

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.

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