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Mavericks defeated as they take their finger off the Pulse

13th April 2019

Saracens Mavericks fell to a shock 62-59 defeat against London Pulse at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday evening in a game, which on paper, was a great chance to secure three points.

The team propping up the Vitality Netball Superleague table were in inspired form as they inflicted a third loss in four games on Mavericks, which has seen them slip to fifth place and out of the semi-final places.

The unpredictability of the league this year has meant that whatever ‘should be’ straight forward will almost certainly not be, and Pulse were a fine example of that.

With first centre pass, the London team converted straight to goal but Saracens Mavericks were quick to answer, also taking their first possession to goal with George Fisher slotting it away.

Sasha and Kadeen Corbin showed early signs of their sisterly connection, producing cracking centre pass give and go action. At the other end of the court, Shantal Slater was proving to be a solid target, scoring 10 goals from attempts as Pulse finished the first fifteen minutes with a 17-16 lead.

Q2 saw Mavericks introduce Karyn Bailey to Goal Shooter with no changes made from the home side.

Bailey showed her class straight away, taking one ball with her finger tips, toes gripping to the side line, finished with a one-handed flick to S. Corbin on the edge of the circle. A return feed under the post left the Pulse defence dazzled.

However, this quarter saw the error count rise from both teams as defensive pressure and higher physicality led to an increase in misplaced passes.

Bodies started to hit the deck and players were putting themselves on the line to take ball.

The pressure didn’t seem to effect Bailey and K. Corbin, who both converted 100% of their goals in the quarter.

Defensive pressure from Jo Trip and Razia Quashie in the circle grew as the quarter progressed, forcing Chiara Semple and Slater into missing the target.

The first half ended with a Mavericks on top, taking 33-30 advantage into the break.

Heading into the second half, Mavericks swapped the bibs of Georgia Lees and S. Corbin. The reshuffle didn’t result in a loss of rhythm but Pulse were proving a stubborn side to break down and dominant.

The home side introduced England Roses captain Ama Agbeze, who has been out for the most of the season with an ankle injury, and the their confidence continued to grow.

Despite the stature of Agbeze, K.Corbin was finding space and making darting runs to underneath the post.

Meanwhile in the opposite circle, Pulse’s GA Semple slotted away an impressive 9 from 9, but it was her shooting partner who produced the most contentious moment of the third quarter.

A monstrous take from Slater, saw her slam Trip to the ground. Umpire Kate Stephenson made her way over to Chris Obin to give her view of the challenge, to which Slater was then given a warning.

Without the luxury of VAR-like technology, this open communication between the officials was a welcome sight.

Despite the increase in drama, both sides remained focused on the battle in hand as Mavericks remained two goals ahead at 48-46 moving into Q4.

The last quarter was a frantic clash which went down to the wire. Pulse were out to prove several points and were clinical with their possession.

Michelle Drayne worked tirelessly to shut down WA Ash Neal who was showcasing her incredible stamina to relentless make herself available and provide Pulse shooters with enough ball to make a dent on the score line.

With five minutes on the clock and Mavericks only ahead by a single goal, the errors started to creep in and the hosts were in no mood to pass up on the opportunity.

Sheer determination saw Pulse finish the game with a fantastic level of intensity that did not allow Mavericks to respond. An excellent contest saw the visitors leave empty handed and ruing missed chances.

Kat Ratnapala said after the game “All credit to Pulse, they were pretty faultless, but we gave away some silly errors which were costly. This season is so tight between all the teams, we definitely didn’t underestimate Pulse as they have quality in their side, but we didn’t bring a consistent and strong enough performance.”

Saracens Mavericks will be looking to get their hunt for a top four place back on track when they take on Wasps this Monday at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

Our Ticket Line is now closed for this match on Monday with limited tickets available on the doors which open at 6.00pm

Player of the Match: Karyn Bailey

Fisher: 9/13 - 69%
Corbin: 25/28 - 89%
Bailey: 25/27 - 93%