Match: Mavericks v Team Bath
Venue: Herts Sports Village, Hatfield.
Time: Monday 16th February, 2009 at 2000
Umpires: Kim Lumley Kylie Woodhead Janice
TV: Sky Sports Xtra 1700 - Thursday, 19th February, 2009.
FULL TIME: 46-55
Team Bath’s 55-46 victory over Mavericks in Hatfield has completed a perfect fixture run for the West Country side in the 2008-09 Co-operative Netball Superleague season - undefeated,16-wins and a maximum 32 points.
Mavericks then in good company coming off second-best to the best and perhaps able to consider how the “Invincibles” can be beaten again. Oh yes they can lose - they did at this stage last year, to Mavericks if you remember who went on to take the title and as reigning champions now have a trophy and title to defend.
The home side was caught off guard by Team Bath’s explosive start in front of another sell-out crowd. Both sides started competitively but Bath settled first and stormed into a 9 goal lead by the end of the first fifteen minutes. Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Stacey Francis in the Bath defence were able to keep Louisa Brownfield penned in. Ella Clarke was a little slow to start but grew in confidence as the match went on and will be a strength in the Mavericks line-up in the none to distant future.
The home-side certainly found their range in the second half - Brownfield and Clarke didn’t miss a shot in the quarter which ramped up the already excitable atmosphere.
But it was after half-time that Mavericks came back into the match karen Atkinon’s move to wing attack made a huge difference, her presence on the circle edge and familiarity with England partner Louisa Brownfield was a real banker. The shooter netted 15 of her 17 shots on goal, Clarke only had 3 chances but landed 2 of those.
Team Bath reshuffled for the final 15 minutes and produced a thrilling finish reacting quickly to the best Mavericks could thow at them. You can see how the undefeated team of the year (so far) did it in the TV replay on Thursday. “ On the night Bath were sharp particularly in the first half. We stepped up the pace in the second half and as a neutral I’m it was a good game to watch. Maverick got within four and had an opportunity but passing errors meant we missed out.
With Jess Garland unwell, assistant coach Anna Mayestook the helm and was pleased with the performance “We had a great start and a great finish. Tactically Mavericks brought it to us in the third quarter but Team Bath dealt with the pressure well and responded in the right way.”
Team Bath captain Pamela Cookey said “ It was a very physical game, close fought but we managed to pull though which shows the strength of our squad.”
So who will go on to be crowned this season’s Co-operative Netball Superleague champions. Will Mavericks be able to defend their trophy? Could Loughborough Lightning at last take the title? What about Leeds Carnegie, the rookies? Or will it be the (so far) unbeateable Team Bath? You can hear the thoughts of England’s Sonia Mkoloma, England legend Tracey Neville and the musings of England coach Sue Hawkins in a brand new podcast take a look www.thenetballpod.com
GA Ella Clarke
GS: Louisa Brownfield
WA: Gemma Wiseman
C: Karen Atkinson … wa 2 Camilla
WD: Steph Bello
GD: Hazel Schofield
GK: Naida Hutchinson
Louisa Brownfield 35/40 = 83%
Emma Clark 11/15 = 73%
GS: Rachel Dunn
GA:Pamela Coookey (capt)
WA: Sacha Corbin
C : Serena Guthrie
WD: Sara Bayman
GD: Eboni Beckford-Chambers
GD: Stacey Francis
Rachel Dunn 31/34 = 91%
Pamela Cookey 24/29 = 83%