Team Bath are through to the Showdown Weekend – the climax of this season’s Fiat Netball Super League – after crushing Celtic Dragons 52-50 last night at the University of Bath’s Sports Training Village.
Roared on by the home crowd they made a stunning start to the must-win fixture, leading 6-0 before closing out the opening quarter 16-9.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start, fantastic to go 9-0 up and deny them of scoring for over 6 minutes especially given the stature of their goal-shooter”, said Team Bath coach Jess Garland.
Garland admitted that they were expecting a back-lash from the opposition in the second quarter so was doubly pleased to stay ahead.
By half-time her charges were 28-19 ahead, using some aggressive and powerful play out of defence into attack.
“Kadeen Corbin had a fantastic performance, a very mature and controlled game which was just what the team needed”, added Garland. “It shows how far she has come across the season.
“She was very well supported by Gemma Fletcher who was relentless in defence and showed real courage and commitment to continue after having rolled her ankle. Millie Grey, a recent debutante was solid and got some turnover at key times and has really contributed since her inclusion in the starting line up”.
The Team Bath attack showed great resilience with some top-class feeds from Yasmin Parsons and Mia Ritchie into the relatively new circle combination of Kat Hayes and Asha Francis – the latter scoring 29 from 31 attempts.
At three-quarter time Team Bath had created a big buffer at 44-29 but Dragons fought back to push the home side to the wire.
“We are obviously disappointed that having extended the lead to 15 going into the final quarter that we suffered a big loss of 8-21 and we will need to look at that ahead of our semi final against Surrey Storm”, said Garland of the nail-biting conclusion.
“However I think that for 45minutes the team really gave everything that they had and just ran out of steam in the last quarter against a very spirited Celtic Dragons who pushed us until the very end”.
The win for Team Bath means they will now play a semi-final against Surrey Storm on Saturday 19 May in Dagenham with a place in the grand final at stake.
GK: Kadeen Corbin; GD: Gemma Fletcher; WD: Millie Grey; C: Mia Ritchie; WA Yasmin Parsons; GA: Asha Francis; GS Kat Hayes
Coach: Jess Garland
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The University of Bath is The Sunday Times University of the Year 2011/12.