Head Coach Anna Stembridge is looking for more consistency from the Team Bath Netball squad as they look to build on an opening-day victory at Celtic Dragons during this weekend’s showpiece Super Ten event in Birmingham.
Team Bath trailed 11-10 at the end of a scrappy first quarter but found their rhythm in the second period and opened up a 26-17 lead at half-time. Dragons edged the third quarter 13-12 but the visitors, despite not being at their best, stepped up again to seal a solid win.
“We’re very pleased to get that first win under our belts and we must acknowledge the importance of being able to dig in and grind out a victory against a Dragons side who performed very well,” said Stembridge.
“The players applied fantastic defensive pressure across the court which resulted in us winning a lot of clean turnover off Dragons, a real strength and one we would like to capitalise on throughout the season.
“We set ourselves high standards and were disappointed with the inconsistency in our game. At times we were above and beyond our key performance indicators but there were also some quarters where we were below and we must be better than that against Hertfordshire Mavericks at Super Ten.
“We also didn’t quite manage to deliver the full package across any quarter but we know we’ve still got much more to give and we are looking to build with each game – I’d rather we were continually striving for the perfect game than be the finished article right now.
“We must feel confident throughout this campaign that we can win in a multitude of ways – sometimes it’s not going to look pretty and you have to win ugly.”
Team Bath handed Superleague debuts to goal-attack Laura Rudland, the latest player to develop through the Blue and Gold ranks, and Jamaican internationals Vangelee Williams and Shantal Slater, the latter making a big impact off the bench as she linked well with Chelsea Lewis and converted more than 90 per cent of her shots.
Layla Guscoth also made her first Superleague appearance in Blue and Gold since making the switch from Mavericks, who will provide Team Bath’s opposition at this weekend’s big Super Ten event.
All ten Superleague franchises will be in action in front of thousands of spectators at the Genting Arena in Birmingham on Saturday, with Team Bath’s game live on Sky Sports Mix in the primetime 8pm slot.
Mavericks, who include former Team Bath player Summer Artman in their ranks, also won their opening match of the season after beating Team Northumbria 53-48 on Friday.
The eagerly-anticipated match is doubling as the latest event in the University’s 50th-anniversary celebrations during 2016-17 and tickets – priced £12 for adults, £8 concessions and £35 for a family ticket – are on sale now at https://www.teambath.com/events/ticketline/ or by calling 0844 888 4412.
Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec, Mogers Drewett are their Education Partners, Centurion Wealth Management are supporting the team’s performance analysis capabilities, Surridge are the kit supplier and Skins provide the team with compression wear.
Celtic Dragons: GK – Kelly Morgan, GD – Lois Rideout, WD – Suzanne Drane, C – Kyra Jones, WA – Bethan Dyke, GA – Kalifa McCollin, GS – Eleanor Roberts. Replacements: Stacey Peeters, Sara Bell, Fern Davies, Leila Thomas, Lydia Hitchings.
Team Bath Netball: GK – Eboni Beckford Chambers, GD – Layla Guscoth, WD – Vangelee Williams, C – Mia Ritchie, WA – Rachel Shaw, GA – Laura Rudland, GS – Chelsea Lewis. Replacements: Sam Cook, Jazz Scott, Amanda Varey, Paige Reed, Shantal Slater.
Quarter scores: Q1 11-10, Q2 17-26 (6-16), Q3 30-38 (13-12), Q4 41-51 (11-13).
Thank you to Celtic Dragons and Sporting Wales for the pictures – check out the full fantastic gallery by clicking here.