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NSL round 11: The top three look unbeatable as Storm close in on Stars

Just over half-way in the season and Round 11 reminds us that all is not done and dusted until the final whistle blows. Surrey Storm are only three points behind Severn Stars, who once were going toe to toe with London Pulse. The middle of the table is constantly changing, with only a three point gap between 5th and 8th place. The two stragglers are Team Bath and Strathclyde Sirens, with just 3 and 1 points respectively. The top of the table, however, has remained constant since Round 1. Manchester Thunder, Loughborough Lightning and London Pulse are all flying high and seem unstoppable at the minute- the gap between third and fourth is currently nine points.

Scottish side Strathclyde Sirens travelled down to Wales to face Cardiff Dragons. The home side are currently in good form and sit a very respectable sixth in the table, but on Friday, Sirens earned their first point so far this season in what was a surprising draw. The half time score was level at 31-31 and the final score was no different as the game ended 48-48. Sirens will be pleased to get a point on the board in what has been a miserable campaign so far, whilst Dragons will be disappointed not to have climbed up to fifth.

In the second game on Friday, fourth-place Severn Stars hosted London Pulse. The side from the capital opened out an early lead to finish the first quarter 20-11 up, and Stars couldn’t pull that back as the game finished 72-50 to Pulse. Both sides were impeccable in the shooting circle, with both above 90%, but ultimately the superior feeds into the circle and the defensive work from Pulse was too much for Stars to deal with. Stars will now be feeling the pressure from Storm and Dragons who are hot on their heels, but they will not feel too disheartened considering Pulse lie one above them in third. Pulse stay right behind Thunder and Lightning and are ready to capitalise on their mistakes.

On Saturday, Saracens Mavericks welcomed Team Bath to the Hertfordshire Sports Village. This game was close from the very start, and until the last quarter there were only five goals in it. However, Mavericks showed their class in the final quarter, which they won 14-9, to take the final score to 53-44 in their favour. Both teams were very evenly matched throughout; they both made fifteen unforced errors and were only separated by one or two turnovers in the defensive statistics. Bath can take some encouragement from that performance against Mavericks, who are in the middle of the pack in seventh. But Bath will desperately want to get a result from a good performance, given that they have only had one win in eleven games.

Next up on Saturday were leaders Manchester Thunder and Surrey Storm. Whilst the first two quarters remained a tense affair, with only four goals between the sides come the half-time whistle, Thunder kept their cool to produce a strong second-half display, winning the third quarter 20-9 and the fourth quarter 20-10, to secure another three points as the game finished 73-48 to the northerners, who remain in first position on goal difference ahead of Lightning.

In the final game of round eleven, defending champions Loughborough Lightning headed to Leeds Rhinos. The coverage on Sky Sports YouTube was better than on previous occasions, although it is extremely frustrating for many fans, myself included, that firstly Sky are not showing more games, and secondly the games are not being broadcast on one of their main channels. It does not bode well for the future of the Netball Super League if they are looking towards going professional. Aside from that, Loughborough Lightning produced a dominant display to give themselves a twelve-goal cushion at half-time. However, the might of former England defender Geva Mentor started to prove a lot for Ugandan shooter Mary Cholhok to handle, and Rhinos fought back after the break to win the quarter 21-14 and cut Loughborough’s lead to just five goals. But Lightning are not the reigning champions for nothing and they showed real experience to shut down the comeback and stop the three points from being snatched from their grasp. The final score was 64-56 to Loughborough Lightning, who will have learnt a lot from this unexpectedly tough encounter. Leeds Rhinos will also hold their heads high; they keep improving in each game and they forced a rare tactical change in defence from Lightning coach Vic Burgess.

In round twelve, Saracens Mavericks are set to host Strathclyde Sirens. Mavericks will be looking to leap up the table, whilst Sirens will be eager for a first win after a draw this week. Team Bath Netball will also be keen to cause some upset as they welcome Surrey Storm. Also next Saturday, the Sir David Wallace Arena will host a showdown between first and second as second-place Loughborough Lightning take on first-place Manchester Thunder, to find something to separate them other than goal difference. To finish off your Saturday evening, Leeds Rhinos will travel to London to challenge Pulse, who will want to be equal on points with either Lightning or Thunder after round twelve. Finally, on Sunday 5th May, Welsh side Cardiff Dragons head to the University of Worcester Arena to play Severn Stars, in what is a must-win for both sides, as the away side will be looking to put a visible dent in Severn Stars’ hopes of a semi-final spot this season. Round 12 is set to be as exciting as ever, and you can keep up with the latest Netball Super League news at

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Additionally, visit the NSL website to discover more.

Looking to get into netball? Head to the England Netball website to find your nearest club.

Also, see other articles from me below, including revision tips as GCSEs edge closer. 

By Natasha Callis
Photo credit: Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

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