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MATCH REPORT | Surrey Storm 59-48 Saracens Mavericks (NSL Rd 3)

02.03.24
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Saracens Mavericks suffered a disappointing first defeat of the 2024 Netball Super League campaign against local rivals Surrey Storm at Surrey Sports Park.

After a great win last weekend, Mavericks would have been hoping to pick up where they left off, starting the match with an unchanged line-up from the clash against Rhinos.

However it wasn’t to be as, despite a solid start for Camilla Buchanan’s side, the hosts soon took control of the game and pulled away in the second half.

Mavericks started well out of the blocks and immediately turned over Storm’s first centre pass, showing signs they were up for the fight.

The first quarter continued well for Mavericks, capitalising on the mistakes that Storm were making, and executing their own game plan well.

They fought hard all over the court, epitomised by Georgia Lees’ leaping interception in the centre third, which resulted in a signature Emma Thacker goal.

Kira Rothwell scored a beautifully worked team goal on the whistle, giving Mavs a one goal buffer going into the quarter break, knowing there was still more work to be done.

Mavs came out with the same fighting spirit they had shown in the first quarter, but the second quarter went goal-for-goal as Storm cut out the mistakes they’d been making in the opening 15 minutes.

In a case of who would blink first, it was Storm who were able to pull ahead and go into half time with a three goal lead.

After a close first half, the match could have gone either way but Storm upped their tempo in the third quarter, putting pressure on Mavs, resulting in some loose passing.

There were some promising signs for Mavs and their best moments came from not rushing, looking after possession and working the ball carefully up the court.

Britney Clarke came on and added a positive dynamic to the shooting circle, but Storm had the lion’s share of the possession towards the end of the third quarter and made it count.

Going into the fourth, Storm had a six goal lead and an early turnover for the home side extended the gap, taking the fixture out of reach for Mavs.

As Storm’s lead extended, Mavs became more frantic and didn’t look after the ball the way they had done in the first half.

Mavericks’ fight continued until the final whistle, but they were unable to replicate their winning form from last week.

A huge positive from the match was the return of Ine-Mari Venter after injury, who fell straight back into her shooting rhythm, netting within 30 seconds of being on court in the fourth quarter.

With the rotation of four excellent shooters in Thacker, Rothwell, Clarke and the returning Venter, Camilla Buchanan won't be short of options as the season progresses.

Mavericks made some great interceptions in the centre third, but couldn’t convert those moments into goals which ultimately cost them in the end.

They will be looking to take all the positives from this tightly contested game when they play reigning NSL champions Loughborough Lightning at HSV next Sunday.

Report by Ayisha Gulati.

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