Team Bath were edged out of a titanic battle by just two goals tonight (Thursday) by reigning Fiat Netball Superleague champions Hertfordshire Mavericks.
The contest brought together the only two teams to have won the Superleague title – and they treated fans at the Sports Training Village and many more watching the game live on Sky Sports, to a thrilling encounter.
But it was Mavericks, who went into the game in third in the Superleague, one place above Team Bath, who ran out 51-49 winners.
Team Bath head coach Jess Garland said her team can still secure a top-four finish at the end of phase one of the Superleague. That is likely to hinge on the team’s remaining home game against Yorkshire Jets on Friday 2 March.
“I’m disappointed and frustrated but incredibly proud tonight. I can’t fault the team for the heart they showed,” she said.
“We were too wasteful with turnover early on though and you can’t afford that against a team like Mavericks. I felt we got more clinical and more assertive in attack as the game went on.
“The pressure is on for our remaining phase one fixture now, but we’ll have our fans behind us and we should go into the game against Yorkshire Jets knowing what we’ve got to do.”
Team Bath shooter Kadeen Corbin added: “It was a really hard-fought game, but we needed to convert more of the turnovers we had.
“From now on in we need to keep positive and look to our next game against Yorkshire Jets.”
Team Bath started tonight’s (Thursday) fixture at a decent pace but couldn’t shake-off a determined Mavericks, who were fuelled by some stunning early interceptions by Emily Morgan-Smith and Camilla Buchanan. You couldn’t separate the teams in the opening quarter, with Team Bath the odd goal ahead up to the halfway point.
Team Bath captain Asha Francis needed treatment with a minute and a half to go with the visitors 12-10 up. It clearly did her no harm. She scored within 10 seconds of play resuming after the timeout and then netted twice more in quick succession to ensure the two teams were neck and neck at 13 goals apiece at the end of a first quarter in which Francis bagged six from six.
The hosts were slow out of their marks in the second quarter, scoring just a single goal to Mavericks’ five in the opening five minutes of a quarter that saw the visitors go on to open up an 18-14 lead.
The fightback was inspired by a terrific interception by Sam Cook, who somehow got to a pass that Alice Ewer aimed at Vicklyn Joseph. Moments later Corbin had scored again as Team Bath whittled the lead down and then forged ahead, before being pegged back by a late Joseph score to make it 25-25 at half-time.
Team Bath were again slow out of the blocks in quarter three as Mavericks opened up a four-goal advantage in the opening six minutes at 32-28. But Team Bath battled back again, with Mia Ritchie, Amanda Trounce and Scarlett Williams becoming increasingly influential in midcourt, the hosts reduced the deficit and then opened up a two-goal advantage, before pushing on to make it 38-35 at the end of the quarter.
Kadeen Corbin must have enjoyed making a crucial interception from sister Sasha’s pass early in the final quarter. The ball was swiftly moved forward for captain Francis to make it 41-38.
Team Bath produced some stylish passages of play, including a flicked pass from Corbin to Francis, who took the score to 43-40, but Mavericks dug deep and began to grind their way back into the game.
Gemma Fletcher was clearly struggling with a leg injury late on, but emerged from a time out to soldier on through the last five minutes.
But with the scores level at 48-48 each with four minutes remaining, the dangerous Joseph grabbed a goal, then another, and despite a late goal from Corbin, it was Joseph who rounded off the scoring to secure victory for the visitors. Final score Team Bath 49 Hertfordshire Mavericks 51.
Team Bath return to action on Friday 2 March when they host Yorkshire Jets in their final phase one game. The pre-match entertainment gets underway at 7.15pm.
For ticket information please go to www.teambath.com/events/ticketline/
Quarter scores (Team Bath first):
Q1: 13-13 Q2: 12-12 (25-25) Q3: 13- 10 (38-35) Q4: 11-16 (49-51)
GS: Kadeen Corbin, GA: Asha Francis (capt), WA: Amanda Trounce, C: Mia Ritchie, WD: Scarlett Williams, GD: Gemma Fletcher, GK: Sam Cook.
Bench: Millie Grey, Becky Watkins, Kate McGinley, Kat Hayes, Emily Rose.
Q3 change: Francis to GS, Corbin to GA.
GS: Vicklyn Joseph, GA: Alice Ewer, WA: Sasha Corbin, C: Rose Morgan-Smith, WD: Camilla Buchanan (capt), GD: Lindsay Keable, GK: Josie Huckle.
Bench: Naida Hutchinson, Mikki Austin, Talissa Hayes, Steffi Burt, Shaunagh Craig.
Q2 change: Hutchinson to GD. Q3 change: Keable to GD, Hutchinson to GK. Q4 changes: Morgan-Smith to WA, Corbin to C.
Kadeen Corbin: 29 from 41 (71 per cent)
Asha Francis: 20 from 25 (80 per cent)
Vicklyn Joseph: 36 from 40 (90 per cent)
Alice Ewer: 15 from 20 (75 per cent)
For further information please contact the Team Bath press office at Matchtight Ltd on 01225 383518 or by email at email@example.com
You can also find out more about Team Bath at www.teambath.com , follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teambath or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/teambath
The University of Bath is The Sunday Times University of the Year 2011/12.