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MATCH REPORT | Cardiff Dragons 48-48 Saracens Mavericks (NSL Rd 1)

In association with
Shawbrook Shawbrook
R1 Match Rep

Saracens Mavericks opened their season with a thrilling draw against Cardiff Dragons at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, as both teams fought hard to the final whistle.

The Netball Super League 2024 kicked off today with the Season Opener in Nottingham, and it did not disappoint.

After eight teams had already taken to court, it was time for Saracens Mavericks to take on Cardiff Dragons under the bright lights of the Motorpoint Arena.

Mavericks fans would have been feeling hopeful about getting the season off to a powerful start, but with an array of new signings for both Mavericks and Dragons, nobody knew what to expect in this match-up, and it turns out it really was a match-up!

Two early turnovers of Mavericks’ centre passes saw Dragons take an early 5-0 lead, putting Camilla Buchanan's side on the back foot immediately.

Some sloppy errors across the board saw calls for replay, held ball and footwork in the first five minutes of the match, showing that cobwebs needed dusting off after the break for both sides.

Halfway through the first quarter, Dragons had a six goal buffer and could have run away with it had Mavericks sat back.

But Mavericks dug deep and eventually found their scoring form with some great link up play and new signing Emma Thacker working her shooting magic in the circle, including a couple of superb shots from long distance.

Their grit and determination in the second half of the first quarter saw Mavericks close the gap to just two after the first fifteen, as they looked to press on.

Mavericks brought their A-game in the second quarter with an early turnover of a Dragons centre pass and Vicki Oyesola showed exactly why she was NSL Players' Player of the Season 2023 as her defensive interceptions kept Mavericks within touching distance.

Thacker and Kira Rothwell found their rhythm as a shooting double act and Mavericks pulled ahead just before the break, with Georgia Lees’ feeds to the shooters and her pinpoint accuracy helping Mavs edge themselves into a narrow lead at the break.

The second half saw Britney Clarke replace Rothwell, and halfway through the third quarter, Mavericks had extended their lead to eight goals, as they looked to take control of the tie.

Despite Razia Quashie and Oyesola holding their own in defence, Dragons fought hard and after a period of prolonged pressure, they had closed the gap.

It was all hands to the pump for Mavericks now, as Dragons grew back into the match in the same way as Mavs had done themselves in the second quarter.

On the stroke of quarter time, Dragons netted and went one ahead, leaving Mavericks needing to fight back in the final quarter to secure a win.

The final quarter saw both teams go toe to toe with the scoring, but another signature Oyesola interception put Mavericks two up with ten minutes to go.

Some nervy moments included a rare Thacker miss, but luckily Clarke was there to net the rebound to keep Mavericks in the race.

Indya Masser replaced Ellie Rattu and kept the tempo across the court, with some magnificent feeds to the shooting pair.

From 41-41 it went a goal a piece, until the last twenty seconds of the match saw Mavericks turnover a Dragons centre pass. With the crowd roaring them on, they looked to work their way up the court, but time ran out before they could get the ball to the shooting circle, leaving them to settle for a draw.

In the end, the result seemed fair on how both sides performed.

There are plenty of positives to take forward, in particular how Oyesola, Gibson and Aliyah Zaranyika defended in those closing moments of the match.

Looking ahead to next week's first home outing against Leeds Rhinos, Mavericks know that they are certainly in the hunt this season.

Report by Ayisha Gulati.

Gloucester News

MATCH REPORT | Saracens Men 46-24 Gloucester Rugby

Saracens Men moved up to second in the Gallagher Premiership after a dominant 46-24 victory over Gloucester Rugby at a sold-out StoneX Stadium. Tom Parton scored the fastest hat trick in Premiership history, crossing for three tries in the first 20 minutes as the Men in Black hit the front and they never looked back […]

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City Index City Index

MATCH REACTION | Camilla Buchanan (NSL Rd 10)

Head Coach Camilla Buchanan credited the fight shown by her side, as they gave champions Loughborough Lightning a stern examination away from home. Lightning comfortably won the fixture between these two sides at HSV earlier in the season, but there was no easy ride here, as Mavericks tested them all the way. Reflecting on the […]

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Shawbrook Shawbrook


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