Sitec-sponsored Team Bath entertain Celtic Dragons on Friday (7.30pm) and Severn Stars on Monday (5pm), with the coaches and players determined to re-energise their Vitality Superleague campaign after back-to-back defeats on the road against table-topping Wasps and second-placed benecosMavericks.
Superleague Head Coach Stembridge said: “We haven’t had a home match in a while now, so hopefully the Blue and Gold fans will come out in force and get behind us because we absolutely need that support.
“It’s so critical on both Friday and Monday that they help us not only get a result but also put in a good performance.”
Stembridge was disappointed with Team Bath’s display at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday, where a below-par first half allowed Mavericks to open up a 32-18 lead. They stretched that to 46-30 at the end of the third quarter before the Blue and Gold produced a spirited final 15 minutes, closing the final gap to 57-41.
“Credit to Mavericks for the performance they put out, they bounced back particularly well from their defeat the previous week, but we were too costly at key times and collectively didn’t turn the ball over enough right across the court,” said Stembridge.
“I was glad in the way the girls responded going into the last quarter. We absolutely know, because of how tight the top four is, that all goals matter in terms of goal difference. There were two things I said to the girls before that last 15 minutes – play for pride and chip away at the scoreline.
“Overall we’re really disappointed with the result and we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves. At the start of the season, if a team pulled ahead we were able to respond but against Mavericks we weren’t there so we have to go back to the drawing board. I just think it’s really uncharacteristic but we will be working hard to put that right.
“You cannot be below-par in this league but the good thing is some of the mistakes that cost us against Wasps and Mavericks are ones we can fix quickly.”
Team Bath have already played Dragons and Stars away from home this season, winning 54-35 and 48-47 respectively – the latter thanks to a last-second winner from shooter Chelsea Lewis, who will face many of her Welsh Commonwealth Games team-mates on Friday.
This weekend’s games not only offer fans the opportunity to see Superleague back at the Team Bath Arena but also to celebrate the recent Commonwealth Games triumph of Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Kadeen Corbin with England.
They will show off their gold medals to the crowd ahead of Friday’s match, while the televised Bank Holiday Monday fixture against Stars will see other Commonwealth Games medallists based at the University of Bath parade their medals on court.
Meanwhile, Team Bath legend Asha Francis has announced her retirement from netball and a special celebration of her career will take place on court ahead of the Blue and Gold’s home match against Mavericks on Friday, June 1 (7.30pm).
Francis, who captained Team Bath to the Superleague title in 2013 and is also a coach with the Blue and Gold, has made the decision as she is moving to Singapore with her family later this summer.
Team Bath Netball are sponsored by Sitec and supported by partners Mogers Drewett, Investigo and Netball South West. Centurion Chartered Financial Planners are supporting the team’s performance analysis capabilities, Viper 10 are their Sportswear Supplier and Skins provide the team with compression wear.