Defending champions Team Bath went down to top-of-the-table Hertfordshire Mavericks 52-42 in tonight’s (Friday) Fiat Netball Superleague clash at the University of Bath.
The contest, played out in front of another bumper crowd of around 940 fans, was a rematch of last season’s final – but the losing side then came out on top tonight, following their one-goal victory in February with a more decisive margin this time around.
Team Bath found themselves playing catch-up from the start after trailing 12-7 at the end of the first quarter to a physical Mavericks side featuring five former Team Bath players.
Although Team Bath worked hard to steal lots of possession, they couldn’t make the most of it and a dogged Mavericks side made sure they returned to Hertfordshire with the spoils.
Afterwards TeamBath head coach Jess Garland said: “I thought we turned over enough ball to win the game today. We’re still a work in progress and we need to capitalise on that turnover if we’re going to beat teams in the top-two.
“There’s a lot of the season left, we’re only half way through it so there’s a long way to go,” she added. “In some ways it’s good that we’ve had back to back games against two of the stronger teams because it reinforces what we need to do going forward.”
Team Bath and England defender Stacey Francis added: “I think we were more disappointed by our performance than by the defeat today. We feel as though we have moved forward from the last time we played Mavericks, so we’re disappointed that the deficit was bigger today.
“But there were some positives tonight with the introduction of new players like Mia (Ritchie) and Scarlett (Williams). We also have real strength on our bench and confidence in them coming into the team.”
Mavericks captain Louisa Brownfield was delighted with her side’s victory. She said: “We always knew it was going to be a really tough game. TeamBath’s reputation speaks for itself. They are a fantastic team, but we’ve gelled really early this season and that’s a positive thing for us to take forward.”
Mavericks came out of the traps the quicker of the two and took a 12-7 advantage into the first break. It could have been worse for Team Bath, who saw the visitors score five goals without reply to take the score from 6-4 to 6-11.
The visitors extended that lead to 12-5 before goal shooter Asha Tett and goal attack Pamela Cookey both netted in the final minute of the quarter to close the gap.
Team Bath started the second quarter the way they ended the first, cutting the deficit quickly to 15-12, but once again, Mavericks dominated the middle of the quarter, at one time opening up a 10-goal lead at 25-15, with captain Louisa Brownfield and former Team Bath player Monique Wood both impressive in the shooting circle.
Stacey Francis and Eboni Beckford-Chambers produced some inspirational interceptions for TeamBath to prompt another strong finish to the quarter. Nevertheless the visitors just edged the quarter to take a 25-19 lead into the third quarter.
Sasha Corbin came at her old stamping ground for Mavericks at the halfway mark, but Team Bath left themselves with a mountain climb going into the final quarter after Mavericks took the third quarter by a couple of goals to extend their lead to eight.
Coach Garland shuffled her pack for the final quarter, with Cookey and Tett swapping places in the shooting circle and introducing Scarlett Williams at wing defence.
The final quarter was the highest scoring of the four, but despite Cookey’s continuing unerring accuracy, supported well by Tett, it was the visitors who closed out the game to return home with the points.
Quarter scores (TeamBath first)
Q1: 7-12, Q2: 12-13 (19-25), Q3: 9-11 (28-36), Q4: 14-16 (42-52)
GS Asha Tett, GA Pamela Cookey (capt), WA Mia Ritchie, C Serena Guthrie, WD Gemma Fletcher, GD Stacey Francis, GK Eboni Beckford-Chambers
Q2 changes: Beckford-Chambers to GD, Francis to GK. Q4 changes: Cookey to GS, Tett to GA, Scarlett Williams to WD, Francis to GD, Beckford-Chambers to GK
Kirsty Delves, Rosie Allison, Katy Rose, Scarlett Williams, Sam Perry,
GS Louisa Brownfield (capt), GA Monique Wood, WA Karen Atkinson, C Rose Morgan-Smith, WD Camilla Buchanan, GD Layla Guscoth, GK Lindsay Keable
Q3 changes: Sasha Corbin to WA, Atkinson to C
Bench: Hazel Schofield, Vicklyn Joseph, Georgia Schmidt, Rachel Mulloy
Pamela Cookey – 22 from 24 (92 per cent)
Asha Tett – 20 from 27 (74 per cent)
Louisa Brownfield – 37 from 41 (90 per cent)
Monique Wood – 15 from 20 (75 per cent)
Team Bath have a double-header weekend coming up with a trip to Surrey Storm on Saturday (26 March) followed by a game at Loughborough Lightning on 27 March. The next home game is against Team Northumbria on Sunday 10 April.
To buy tickets for TeamBath’s home games please go to the Team Bath website event tickets page or call the ticketline on 0844 888 4412.
For further information members of the media can contact the TeamBath press office at Matchtight Ltd on 02115 383518.