R10 : Bath beat Rhinos
Team Bath Netball stormed to victory this evening in the Super League with a 61-54 win over Leeds Rhinos in the second of five successive matches at the Team Bath Arena.
The Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold outfit recovered from a seven-goal deficit during the first quarter to dominate the next 15 minutes and head into half-time 31-25 up.
A hectic final quarter kept Team Bath on their toes but the re-introduction of Sophie Kelly in goal attack had the desired effect as her flurry of goals in the final 15 minutes paved the way for a second victory this season.
Team Bath Netball Head Coach Asha Francis said: “It was tight at times and they were scoring really quickly, but we went down the other end and took control to always put the pressure back on them.
“What we can be proud of as a coaching team is the reaction we had to that first quarter. We made the change in bringing Sophie on for Kadeen and it had a positive impact. It was down to us to realise what had to happen to make sure that deficit didn’t get any greater.
“We were comfortable going goal for goal in the final quarter which is an excellent place to be.
“We want this to become an uncomfortable place for teams to come. We’re mainly playing teams around us in the table and we’re at home – there are no excuses about travel and fatigue. We’ll be looking to push on.”
Leeds Rhinos, searching for their first win this campaign, found themselves 14-7 up in a dominant spell in the first 10 minutes, with Francis reacting by bringing on Kelly.
It proved an inspired switch as, coupled with two superb blocks from Jayda Pechova on the impressive Ellie Bird, Kelly’s goal seconds before the buzzer cut Rhinos’ lead to three.
Bird made it 17-13 soon after the first centre of the second quarter before the Rhinos were rocked when centre Caroline O’Hanlon was forced off with a shoulder injury, and the positional changes appeared to spoil the visitors’ momentum.
Kelly made it 21-21 to level the score for the first time since the fifth minute, before they were dealt an injury blow when wing attack Ali Wilshier landed awkwardly following a collision with Leeds Rhinos’ debutant Jemma Donoghue, allowing Kirsty Harris to enter the fray.
Team Bath asserted control as they moved 29-23 up, their biggest lead of the match thus far, spurred on by a 1,000+ crowd at the Team Bath Arena. Imogen Allison’s inventiveness, the highlight a tremendous flick back onto court for Kelly to make it 30-24, raised the decibels further.
The spectators were on their feet seconds before the buzzer when Betsy Creak somehow hooked the ball home while falling out of court to make it 31-25 at half-time, rounding off the first half with the goal of the game and capping off a fine spell from the hosts, winning the quarter 18-10.
The Rhinos had the upper hand in the third quarter to pull it back to 37-34 after neat work around the centre concluded with Brie Grierson locating Paige Reed to loop home.
A costly error from the final centre pass of the quarter saw Creak take advantage before a huge jump and deflection from Pechova on Bird enabled the Blue & Gold to head into the final 15 with a five-goal lead.
Defences had their work cut out in a quick trade of goals before sloppiness from the Rhinos cost them dearly, Bird left frustrated with wayward final passes whereas Team Bath were more clinical, the re-introduced Kelly rounding off a fine move after Creak athletically kept the ball in.
Each goal back from the visitors silenced the crowd, but after both Rhinos’ defenders were penalised, Kelly capitalised to make it 60-53 with two minutes left to calm the majority of those in attendance.
Kelly rounded off the scoring in the last minute to seal a deserved win and allow Team Bath to leapfrog Celtic Dragons and move up to 8th.
Next up for Team Bath is another home match, this time against West Country rivals Severn Stars on Easter Saturday (8th April). Centre-pass is 4pm and tickets for that match, plus the remaining home fixtures against London Pulse, Celtic Dragons and Manchester Thunder, are available at netball.teambath.com/tickets.
Team Bath Netball is supported by its Principal and Pathway Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts; Bath Building Society and Rengen Developments, who are overall Team Bath Partners; Centurion Chartered Financial Planners; Ecus Ltd, our environment partner; and PDS Coaching, who provide performance mentoring. Team Bath’s suppliers include O’Neills and 2XU.
Team Bath starting combination: GS Betsy Creak, GA Kadeen Corbin, WA Ali Wilshier, C Bethan Dyke, WD Imogen Allison, GD Lia-May Catling, GK Jayda Pechova. Impact players: Summer Artman, Caroline Mtukule, Kirsty Harris, Sophie Kelly, Hannah Passmore.
Leeds Rhinos starting combination: GS Ellie Bird, GA Paige Reed, WA Ellie McDonald, C Caroline O’Hanlon, WD Rosie Harris, GD Vicki Oyesola, GK Jemma Donoghue. Impact players: Amy Braithwaite, Brie Grierson, Nia Jones, Michelle Magee, Millie Sanders.
Quarter scores (Team Bath first): Q1 13-15; Q2 31-25 (18-10); Q3 46-41 (15-16); Q4 61-54 (15-13).
Most Valuable Player: Imogen Allison.
Image: Charlotte Clark.