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Mike Greenwood Trophy - Manchester - Saturday 14th December

17th December 2019

Saracens Mavericks travelled their way up to Christmassy Manchester last Saturday for another opportunity to step on court as a squad and compete for the Mike Greenwood Trophy, a man who meant so much to many in netball but especially in Oldham, Thunder and England. 

Mavericks first match was against 2019 winner Manchester Thunder, who’s squad has had few changes from last year and it was going to be Saracens Mavericks first test to see who was going to come out on top. 

The game started at blistering pace with neither team taking any prisoners and both stepping up to deliver a fantastic display of netball. Heading into the first quarter it was Thunder edging ahead with only 1 turnover nudging them into a 11-13 lead. 

With no changes made to the 2nd quarter, the gap stayed the same with 10 all to both teams, Thunder still ahead by 2 goals. 

Quarter 3 brought Essam onto GA, K Corbin to GS, Ecuyer-Dale on to WD from the bench and Marshall move to C, a change which brought impact and Mavericks brought the scoreline back to 27-27 all, however another held ball in attack meant that Thunder once again capitalised and stretched the lead out again to 2 goals. 

Fisher back into GS and K Corbin to the bench for the final quarter and Thunder’s defence seemed too strong for Mavericks this time and saw Thunder take the first win of the day 40-45. 

Next up for Mavericks was Bath, with Mavericks NPL Youth player Aliyah Zaranyika starting at WD having great impact and Mavericks attack in fantastic form against England International Usoro-Brown and South African International Khanyisa Chawaney. 

Mavericks lead the first quarter 13-5, heading into the 2nd quarter, Ratnapala brought on another Mavericks NPL Youth player Phoebe Parker, who looked cool, calm and collected as her first shot was sunk with ease. Heading into half time, Mavericks lead 21-13 with Mulloy entering into GD and Fisher moving to GA into quarter 3, it was a bold and confident quarter with Mavericks capitalising on their solid defensive pressure, finishing 12-4 up that quarter. With no changes going into the final quarter, the game finished 41026. 

Mavericks vs Lightning saw Rachel Mulloy take the starting bib at GD, matching with Jo Trip at GK with K Corbin and Essam linking at the other end of the court, it was a measured and nervy start from both teams with Mavericks coming out on top at 10-8 heading into the 2nd quarter. 

Both teams doubling the scoreline at half time, 20-16, Fisher entered at GS, Mavericks Captain S Corbin entered into C and Aliyah Zaranyika entered at GD and all making immediate impact into the game with the score in that quarter 12-6 to Mavericks, the game finished 43 - 31 which meant Mavericks were heading towards another final. 

With back to back games for Mavericks, they reached yet another final and heading against the home team Manchester Thunder again to compete for the trophy. 

Heading into the final game with Quashie and Trip uncharacteristically swapping bibs, Mavericks edged ahead finishing the first quarter 12-9 ahead. 

With 1 change from Mavericks and 2 changes for Thunder, and 5 unforced errors from Mavericks, they let the scoreline slip and a 9-13 quarter meant Thunder were back in the driving seat edging ahead 21-22. 

Unfortunately a nasty elbow to the head meant Quashie had to retire from court in the 3rd and Zaranyika move from WD to GD and Ecuyer-Dale move into WD from the bench. End of the 3rd quarter and Thunder were up 36-31. Despite a gallant effort from the whole of the squad, Mavericks didn’t have enough on the day to take the title off Manchester Thunder and saw them win 42 - 49. 

Ratnapala said “What an incredible day of netball, massive thank you Manchester Thunder, it was definitely worth the extremely early morning for the players and staff! 

There was so much we can take from today, lots more to bank and build on and I’m really excited to get started with the season ahead now. To get 2 NPL players out there competing against top Internationals, Parker against Usoro-Brown and Zaranyika against Cardwell was amazing and a moment I don’t think either will forget. 

This season is going to be the most exciting and I think our squad, are in a really good place right now, we have it all to play for and we are moving in exactly the right direction. Can’t wait for Saturday 11th January now when we can compete against Team Bath again back home at the Hertfordshire Sports Village”

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