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Mavericks Open the VNSL with a Win V Team Northumbria

17th February 2017

Tonight, Hertfordshire Mavericks hosted Team Northumbria in this season's Vitality Netball Superleague curtain-raiser. It was a close fought game but ultimately the Mavericks team were too strong for their opponents.

Mavericks Starting Seven: Keable (GK), Quashie (GD), Everitt (WD), Grant (C), Neal (WA), Hankin (GA), Joseph (GS)

Mavericks Used Subs: Artman (GK), Drayne (WA), Morgan-Smith (C) 

Team Northumbria got off to a strong start taking a 3-0 lead at the start of the game. This deficit was a wake up call for Mavericks, who then started to play the netball we have come to expect. Despite Northumbria's strong circle defence, Grant was able to pull them apart with some creative passing and movement.

Mavericks' zonal defence was causing a lot of issues for the Northumbria attack, but the girls in black and purple were struggling to convert these turnovers into goals, despite Hankin's brilliant long-range shooting.  With two minutes of the first quarter remaining momentum swung towards Mavericks, as excellent defensive pressure from the shooters forced a turnover in the final third which was duly put away by the Mavericks shooters. In the last two minutes of the quarter Hankin's impeccable shooting drew the game back - and even on the rare occasion she missed, Joseph was there with the acrobatic rebound.

Q1 score: 13-13

The second quarter began the same as the first, with Mavericks starting a little slower than their opponents; the interceptions of Artman, who had entered the fray at goalkeeper, stopping Northumbria from opening up a significant lead. Despite giving away some possession, Mavericks made up for it in the midcourt defence, making it very difficult for Northumbria to feed their shooters. It was another balanced quarter between two defensively-strong sides, the Mavericks sneaking ahead right at the end to lead 25-24.

Q2 score: 25-24

After the half-time team talk, the home side came out with a new lease of life, in no small part thanks to the introduction of Drayne at WA. The game's pace picked up which suited the Mavericks' play. This passage of play saw Mavericks open up a seven-goal lead - but Northumbria continued to ask questions and began to make a dent in the lead. Once again, Hankin's long-bombs relieved the pressure.

Q3 score: 40-35

Morgan-Smith came on for Grant at the start of the fourth quarter and Mavericks immediately extended their lead, but a few turnovers in Northumbria's favour tested the nerves of Mavericks. They held strong though, ending the game with a five-goal lead.

Final score: 53-48

POM: Razia Quashie

Shooting stats: 

Joseph: 86%

Hankin 86%

This win puts Mavericks at the top of the table on this opening night of Vitality Netball Suplerleague 2017 - and what an opening match it was!

The next match for the Mavericks is against Team Bath, next Saturday at the Genting Arena, Birmingham, as part of the league's Super Ten. The next game at Herts Sport Village is on the 18th of March, against the Celtic Dragons.  

Many thanks to Hannah Roberts for the match report.