MATCH REPORT | Saracens Mavericks 51 - 53 Leeds Rhinos
With missing players and misjudged passes Mavericks miss out to Leeds Rhinos in the ongoing battle for a top 4 finish
Rhinos charged into this ninth-round contest to assert a 53-51 win over a Mavericks side who have failed to bank points in 3 of their last 4 matches. The home side struggled to find consistency and rhythm. An electric final quarter brought the game level but it was Tracey Robinson’s team who left with victory and Ratnapala’s side who left with regret.
Head Coach, Kat Ratnapala, reflected on what went wrong for the Mavericks: ‘We can’t start and finish quarters as we’re doing at the moment. The concentration for us at the moment is letting us down. So, disappointing.
I’m really proud of the resilience the girls showed and their fight to get back in the game. Which we’re doing - we’re competing - we just can’t continue that momentum. Back to the drawing board.’
Her closing remarks give Mavericks fans hope and concern in equal measure: ‘I don’t know what it is but we’ll find out what’s going on and we’ll be addressing it, definitely.’
Saracens Mavericks have almost a full week to regroup before heading to Bath to take on another key team in the tussle for top four.
A rivalry may be just beginning to develop between Rhinos and Mavericks. Last season the new franchise snatched the top 4 spot out of Mavericks’ hands then today ground out a win by, ‘keeping our structures, keeping calm and just making sure we had the movement going’ (Robinson, Head Coach of Leeds Rhinos)
It became apparent why both of these teams have been struggling to find consistency recently as both outfits looked a little unsettled in the opening quarter, throwing away the ball too often. The crowd were treated to impressive shooting pairs at both ends of the court, including players willing and able to shoot from range. However, the Black and Reds didn’t play their best netball and Leeds finished the quarter 10 – 14.
There were flashes of brilliance in the second quarter: K.Corbin’s rebounding and laser passes, Essam’s movement and shooting rate and Zaranyika’s pass back into court. However, Rhinos found a way back in and went into the break leading 22- 25. With twice as many turnovers as Mavericks, Rhinos were showing a determination to hang onto their lead and see the game through.
Britney Clarke came on for Chloe Essam early in the third and made an immediate impact. However, Rhinos also showcased the depth of their squad as they brought on Rebekah Airey as GK and Brie Grierson in GA. The game was becoming increasingly physical and Brie Grierson’s quick feet and hands saw her awarded Gilbert Player of the Match. Leeds finished the third with a 5-point buffer. 33 – 38.
Mavericks exploded into the final 15 with a blockbuster passing sequence that lifted the crowd and restored belief. Quashie shone for the Mavericks, not least with a physicality that squashied Rushton into the post!* Momentum shifted and the home crowd roared as their side clawed back to level with just 3 minutes left to play. However, Maverick’s intensity came too late and Leeds’ steady, careful play bumps them up the table where they’re now level on points with Mavericks.
Mavericks will head west to Team Bath Arena next Friday for the opening game of round 10.
Saracens Mavericks starting 7: GS Kadeen Corbin; GA Chloe Essam; WA Sasha Corbin (Captain); C Gabby Marshall (Vice Captain); WD Aliyah Zaranyika; GD Jodie Gibson; GK Razia Quashie
Replacements: Yasmin Hodge-England; Dani McFarlane; Britney Clarke; Bella Baylis; Eliza Barclay
Leeds Rhinos starting 7: GS Sigi Burger; GA Sienna Rushton; WA Brie Grierson; C Jade Clarke; WD Michelle Magee; GD Vicki Oyesola (Captain); GK Tuaine Keenan
Replacements: Rebekah Airey; Amy Clinton; Amelia Hall; Paige Kindred; Lydia Walker
Quarter scores Q1 10-14; Q2 22-25 ; Q3 33-38; Q4 51-53
Written by Erica Rosa Tapp
Photography by Rhiannon Shore