MATCH REPORT | Surrey Storm 55-53 Saracens Mavericks
A spirited Saracens Mavericks fell agonisingly short in Round 8 of the Vitality Netball Superleague, as Surrey Storm edged a hard-fought match 55-53 at the Surrey Sports Park.
The tie between two local rivals remained a close affair to the final whistle, as both sides took the lead in an enthralling final quarter.
The Mavs went 50-49 ahead with less than five minutes to go, but the Surrey side responded well to record a win in front of their home crowd.
Kathryn Ratnapala’s side played without vice-captain Gabby Marshall (covid) and Ine-Mari Venter, who was out because of an injury sustained in the Mavs 48-45 victory over Strathclyde Sirens on Saturday.
Q1 started with a turnover from the Mavericks' centre pass that saw the Storm two ahead after a minute. The Mavs pushed on undeterred, and a lovely interchange saw Sasha Corbin feed Chloe Essam before the latter finished a well-worked move.
Surrey impressed throughout the first quarter, and some sharp-shooting from Peace Proscovia saw Q1 end 13-11 to the hosts.
Q2 unfolded in a scrappy fashion, with defensive pressure from both sides, with both teams playing their second match of the weekend.
Proscovia starred for the Storm and remained composed in front of the goal to put the hosts five ahead. But Kadeen Corbin, filling in at GS in Venter's absence, did well to cut the lead to two before the interval. She was awarded Version 2 Player of the Match for her efforts to keep the Mavericks within touching distance of the Storm, as the first half finished 28-25.
The third quarter saw Razia Quashie look to have made an impressive interception, but an awarded contact saw the Storm edge further ahead at the end of this move.
Mavericks stuck to their task and worked their way back into a match that looked out of reach at one stage. Vocal support from the bench inspired a possible comeback, with Chloe Essam a key part of quick exchanges that cut the lead to just two points, as the score read 41-39 to the Storm ahead of the final quarter.
Mavericks pushed forward in search of victory in Q4 but found the Storm equally determined on their home court. Ratnapala’s side went ahead for the first time in the match, as a turnover led by another interception from Quashie proved vital.
But the Storm drew on their home crowd, taking the lead late on, as a decisive run of goals without reply secured them a tense and close victory. It saw the Mavs fall to defeat, despite a fighting performance in which they more than matched their opponents across the court.
This weekend's results still puts the Mavs in a great position to continue their push for the play-offs. Next Saturday, the Red and Blacks return to Herts Sports Centre to play Leeds Rhinos in Round 9.
Written by Jack Butler
Photography by Rhiannon Shore