Source: Ben Lumley

‘Lessons to be learnt’ as Team Bath Netball look to bounce back

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Anna Stembridge says her squad will take plenty of lessons from Easter Sunday’s single-goal defeat to Saracens Mavericks which saw Team Bath Netball’s unbeaten start to the 2021 Vitality Superleague season come to a battling end.

Team Bath’s Layla Guscoth (Photo: Ben Lumley)

An outstanding contest between two old rivals saw the Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold trail for the first time this season at half-time and go five goals behind an inspired Mavericks side at one stage during the third quarter before showing tremendous resilience to draw level at 38-38 with just a minute left on the clock.

Mavericks held their nerve to net the decisive goal and deny Team Bath victory for the first time this term but they remain three points clear at the top of the table and Superleague Head Coach Stembridge says they are continuing to learn as a team ahead of this weekend’s double header against league newcomers Leeds Rhinos and London Pulse.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get the win and that hurts but it was a great game for the neutral and fair play to Mavericks, I thought they did really well,” said Stembridge. “They didn’t spill much ball and we didn’t get as much turnover as we have previously. We got a bit sticky at times and weren’t letting the passes go.

“I don’t feel like we started as well as we have previously, we took a while to get into the game and it felt like we only got going in the last quarter.

“I think we are our own hardest critics and even when we were winning games we knew we weren’t getting everything our own way and questions were being asked of us. This was a real hard lesson but we will take as much as we can from the game.”

Rengen-backed Team Bath will be looking to bounce back when they make the long journey to the central venue in Wakefield, Yorkshire for the last time this week for the final two matches in the first half of the Superleague season.

They start on Friday with a first meeting against new franchise Leeds Rhinos, who have made an impressive start to their debut Superleague campaign and sit sixth in the table with five wins from their opening nine matches (7.15pm centre-pass).

Team Bath return to court at 4pm on Saturday for a second match in 13 days against London Pulse, who lost 51-29 when the teams met in late March but recorded a confidence-boosting victory over Severn Stars on Easter Monday.

Both games are being streamed live and for free on Sky Sports YouTube and there is another chance for Blue & Gold fans to enjoy a Zoom watchalong together in the Virtual Home Stand during the Pulse match on Saturday. Visit netball.teambath.com/homestand to find out more.

Meanwhile, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis has been named as Team Bath’s Rengen Player of the Month for March. The England goal-attack was in magnificent form during a month which started with her converting all of her shots in the win against Manchester Thunder.

Drakeford-Lewis, an Integrated Mechanical & Electrical Engineering student who is supported by a Bill Whiteley Sports Scholarship, continued that deadly accuracy throughout March and is currently second in the Superleague shot conversion stats with a 94.48 per cent rate. She also continued to work tirelessly for the team, earning praise for defending from the front.

Coaches Anna Stembridge, Jo Vann and Natalie Roddy select the monthly winner of the award, which is provided by Rengen – one of the Blue & Gold’s backers and overall sponsor for Team Bath.

Team Bath Netball is the Superleague franchise for the South West of England and has Academy Training Centres in every district – Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The club is supported by its Principal Partner, chartered accountants Haines Watts, who are also a pathway partner, and by Rengen Developments and Centurion Chartered Financial Planners. O’Neills are Team Bath’s official kit supplier.

Match stats

Saracens Mavericks starting 7: GS Kadeen Corbin, GA Ine-Mari Venter, WA Sasha Corbin, C Gabriella Marshall, WD Jodie Gibson, GD Jo Trip, GK Razia Quashie. Replacements: Britney Pringle-Clarke, Stephanie Collard, Beth Ecuyer-Dale, Chloe Essam, Georgia Lees.

Team Bath Netball starting 7: GS Kim Borger, GA Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, WA Rachel Shaw, C Serena Guthrie, WD Tash Pavelin, GD Layla Guscoth, GK Eboni Usoro-Brown. Replacements: Summer Artman, Abi Robson, Jess Shaw, Betsy Creak, Hannah Passmore.

Quarter scores (Saracens Mavericks first): Q1 10-11; Q2 11-8 (21-19); Q3 11-11 (32-30). Q4 7-8 (39-38).

Courtesy of the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight Ltd.

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