Team Bath Netball head coach Jess Thirlby is determined to finish the Superleague season on a high when Celtic Dragons visit the Sports Training Village for a televised fixture next week.
A run of three away defeats in seven days, culminating in Easter Monday’s 51-45 reverse at improving Loughborough Lightning, mean Team Bath will not qualify for the semi-finals for the first time since the Superleague began in 2006.
But victory over Welsh franchise Dragons on Monday, April 13 (7.45pm) should be enough to secure fifth place in the final table, which Thirlby believes would be a good achievement for her new-look squad.
“I am incredibly proud of a lot of what we have been able to achieve this year,” she said.
“Our performances from the first half of the season to the second have been unrecognisable and if not for the games coming in such quick succession maybe this team could have got closer to reaching their potential.”
After battling defeats at Hertfordshire Mavericks and Yorkshire Jets, Team Bath knew they would face another tough test when they visited a Loughborough team who had pushed them all the way at the Sports Training Village last month.
Team Bath produced some good turnovers during a first half which saw them come from behind to level on numerous occasions and only trail 22-20 at the break.
However, Lightning were able to stretch that gap to 28-21 during a frustrating start to the third period for the visitors.
They went into the final period 37-32 behind and, despite giving it their all, were unable to turn the game around.
“Despite staying in touch throughout we didn’t capitalise on our turnovers early in the game and were found chasing the game late on,” said Thirlby.
“Again we showed great resilience to bring the margin back to just a few goals and just a few errors at the wrong time cost us the win.”
Despite the defeat, Team Bath remain above Lightning – whose final game is against defending champions Manchester Thunder – on goal difference.
Doors open at 6.45pm for the Celtic Dragons game and pre-match entertainment and warm-ups get under way at 7pm.