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Saracens Mavericks struck down by Lightning

2nd April 2019

Saracens Mavericks fell to a 54-49 defeat in Loughborough, a loss which saw them slip out of the top four in Round 12 of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

The battle for a semi-final has intensified in recent weeks and both teams were coming into the encounter with ambitions to cement their place.

Lightning were first on the scoreboard, after a period of end-to-end action. It was a struggle for each attack with the ball struggling to make it through court.

The nervousness and importance of the fixture was being played out on court in an intense opening 15 minutes. A low scoring quarter saw it end 12-11 in Mavericks favour.

Q2 started without changes in personnel but plenty of defensive action. Lightning’s Vicki Oyesola won an early interception, converted to goal by Mary Cholhok to bring the scores even.

Mavericks’ Razia Quashie, not to be out done, then turned over Lightning’s next centre pass with fancy footwork to get around her 6’7” opponent and show that short GKs can still win ball.

It was a battle of the centre court with lots of tussles, passion and energy on display. England star Sasha Corbin was showing class and composure, withstanding the tenacious pressure of Roses colleague Nat Panagarry.

Georgia Lees also showed control and a smart head, competing head to head with Lightning’s Jess Shaw in a mid-court classic showdown, both players striving to outsmart and control their respective ends.

At half-time Mavericks had done just enough to deserve a three goal lead, 25-22.

A refreshed visiting side re-entered the court, with Karyn Bailey introduced into Goal Shooter and George Fisher moving to Goal Attack. Lightning chose to stick with their starting 7.

The home side took their team name literally in the third period, a lightning move finding Cholhok to score with ease.

Mavericks responded with Jo Trip showcasing excellent ground work to limit Ella Clark’s possession on the ball.

However, the lack of connection in the Mavericks goal circle, awarded Lightning with possession that they capitalised on suddenly the game was level.

Despite the connection growing with Bailey’s in-game intelligence and Fisher’s fearless baseline drive to post, the goals continued to flow at both ends of the court.

Quashie and Trip were working tirelessly to outwit the deadly height of Clark and Cholhok, as the hosts pressed for quick goals and lay up shots worthy of a BBL side.

Michelle Drayne, once again in fine form, was working hard in front to shut down WA options and create ball, but Lightning were showing real class as they pushed for their 7th consecutive win.

With four minutes left on the clock in Q3, Mavericks injected Lindsay Keable in to the GD position, with Trip sliding over to WD and Drayne picking up the C bib

A strong quarter from the home side saw them take a slender 39-38 lead heading into the final quarter.

It was all set to be a true battle to the final whistle as both sides pushed for a vital three points.

Bailey and S. Corbin combined brilliantly in breaking through the solid line of Lightning, but equally at the other end, Hannah Joseph started to find Clark with a little more ease to keep her side pushing forwards.

Passing errors and a 3 second call for Mavericks saw Lightning push out to a six-goal lead and take the advantage with five mins left in the game.

Mavericks called a time to reintroduce K. Corbin at GA and put Lees back to C. The changes proved to be in vain as Mavericks were unable to close the gap despite refusing to slow the tempo and halt the pressure.

Reflecting on the game Kat Ratnapala said: “We created lots of opportunities in the first quarter and didn’t really take them.

“While we are obviously disappointed with the loss, we have been working so hard in training and firmly believe that a big performance is in there and that the results will come”

Saracens Mavericks are next in action this Saturday when they travel down to the capital to take on London Pulse.

You can next watch Mavericks in a home fixture when they host Wasps at Milton Keynes on Monday 15 April in their showcase fixture for the 2019 season. Grab your ticket to this crucial clash here.

Main Photo Credit : Steve Porter

Player of the Match : Jo Trip

 

SHOOTING STATS:

Fisher: 30/34 - 88%

Corbin: 10/14 - 71%

Bailey: 9/10 - 90%