DARK horses Strathclyde Sirens continue to surprise the Vitality Netball Superleague as they earnt a share of spoils in a thrilling 32-32 draw against Wasps.
The goal-for-goal contest went down to the final seconds before Rachel Dunn made no mistake on a penalty pass or shot to ensure the two-time champions gained a point.
Despite their best-ever start to a Superleague season, Sirens’ coach Karen Atkinson harboured frustrations after the game.
“I’m probably mostly frustrated because we should have won that,” Atkinson told Sky Sports.
“I think that were in control for large periods of the game but there was just a bit of naivety in the end. I’m so proud of their fight, determination and spirit – defensively I thought that we were excellent.”
Earlier in the round, Manchester Thunder put successive defeats behind them and returned to winning ways with a 69-33 victory over Celtic Dragons, who are still on the hunt for their first win this season.
Despite a strong start by the Welsh side, with shooter Amy Clinton making 100% of her shots, a 19-4 second quarter meant there was no coming back for Dragons.
Saracens Mavericks also enjoyed an intense derby-day victory over London Pulse as they bounce back from a 34-34 draw in round six, winning 39-32.
A slower start from Pulse cost them against their rivals. They won the third quarter and brought it back to within two with seven minutes left on the clock, but Mavericks retained their advantage and saw out the win.
Team Bath continued their unbeaten run with a 50-30 win over Surrey Storm. The Bath side are looking unstoppable so far this season and despite Storm staying competitive in the first half, Bath ran away with it in the third quarter, winning 16-5.
This continued into Monday night as Bath played again, beating Strathclyde Sirens 47-36 and jumping to top of the table.
Anna Stembridge’s side are the only unbeaten team in the Superleague and now go three points clear of Loughborough Lightning, who were ahead after playing one more game.
It was a hard-fought victory for Bath, where a final-quarter push saw them extend their lead to 11. The second and third quarter were won by just one goal and things were looking tight, but a 13-7 final period helped Bath secure the top spot.
Team Bath’s Serena Guthrie said post-match: “We’re top but we’ve got a long way to go in this competition.
“We’re not getting carried away, it’s nice to be top but we want to be in the final. We don’t want just to be top right now; we want to be in that final.”
The final game of the round saw Leeds Rhinos come out on top against a stubborn Severn Stars with a 42-38 victory.
There was very little to separate the two sides, each giving their all in defence and making numerous turnovers.
It was Rhinos that edged away slightly in the second quarter, but Stars continued to pile the pressure and despite Stars clawing it back to within two with 60 seconds left, Rhinos remained calm and saw out the win.
The action continues on Sunday with Manchester Thunder kicking off the action against Leeds Rhinos.
Team Bath will look to continue their unbeaten run against London Pulse and Loughborough Lightning play Strathclyde Sirens. Sunday’s fixtures are rounded off with Celtic Dragons looking for their first win of the season as they play Wasps.
Round eight continue on Monday night as Saracens Mavericks take on Severn Stars and London Pulse take to the court again to play Leeds Rhinos.