Bath secure first away win
Asha Francis was delighted to see her players’ “freedom and faith” rewarded with a first away win of the season.
Team Bath Netball came out on top in a close contest with Saracens Mavericks.
The Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold and their old rivals went goal for goal in front of the Sky Sports cameras, with just a couple of goals separating the sides for much of the contest, before clinically pulling away in the closing minutes to win 57-54.
It was the perfect response to the disappointment of Saturday’s visit to Leeds Rhinos, where Team Bath had led 36-25 after an excellent first half but fell away in the second 30 minutes and were beaten 59-55.
Team Bath Netball Head Coach Francis said after Monday’s Mavericks success: “The players looked more comfortable today going goal for goal and really trusted each other throughout the whole 60 minutes.
“We’ve been working on playing with freedom and faith in each other when things are tight and I was really proud to see that. It’s a lot easier to go short and not keep that vision open during the moments you are going goal for goal, so that’s what has impressed me most.”
Wing-attack Ali Wilshier, who was named as Sky Sports Player of the Match after supplying 32 feeds to the attacking circle, added: “It was definitely a really hard-fought game but I’m just really proud of the girls. We have struggled with consistency over the course of the season so it was nice to put together a 60-minute performance.”
As against Rhinos 48 hours earlier, Team Bath came out firing at the Hertfordshire Sports Village and opened up a 9-5 lead midway through the first quarter. However, that was to be the biggest margin between the sides until the dying stages of the match as Mavericks closed the gap to 13-12 at the break.
The next two quarters saw the teams go goal for goal, with the hosts – captained by former Blue & Gold star Sasha Corbin in her last home game before retirement – edging into a 29-28 lead at half-time and Team Bath taking the third quarter to go into the final period with a narrow 44-43 advantage.
It continued to be nip and tuck, with neither side able to pull clear until six minutes from time when fantastic defensive pressure from Jayda Pechova and Caroline Mtukule forced an error and Team Bath were able to put a run of three goals together to edge into a 52-50 lead.
Clinical finishing from Betsy Creak and Kadeen Corbin ensured the gap remained at two until the last minute when Mavericks were pressured into another mistake, allowing Team Bath to finally put the game to bed.
The Blue & Gold now have a weekend off before wrapping up the 2023 season with a visit to semi-finalists Loughborough Lightning on Friday 2nd June. Centre-pass is 7.30pm and the match will be shown live on Sky Sports.
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.