Team Bath netballers strike back with victory over Loughborough Lightning
Team Bath got back to winning ways last night with a 69-30 success over Loughborough Lightning in the Netball Superleague.
The hosts came out on top in all four quarters in front of a sell-out 1,400 crowd at the Sports Training Village to quickly erase the memory of the previous week’s defeat to table-topping Surrey Storm.
Head coach Jess Thirlby said: “We didn’t just want to win tonight, we needed the performance as well. It was great to win all four quarters, but it’s still very much a work in progress.
“We’ve got some players missing, so I’m fortunate to have some options to switch players around.”
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The two teams looked evenly matched early on as they probed each other for weaknesses but it was Team Bath who took the first quarter 13-8.
Team Bath stepped up the pace in the second, producing a display of fast, accurate passing that left Lightning chasing shadows.
Mia Ritchie and Yasmin Parsons were both impressive in mid-court, creating acres of space and finding Pamela Cookey and Asha Francis at will. They took the score to 27-15 at the halfway mark.
The four-times Superleague champions produced a devastating third quarter, which they won 20-5. Wing-attack Amanda Trounce and centre Serena Guthrie both showed their athleticism, producing a string of impressive passes for Cookey, who looked unstoppable in the shooting circle.
She made shooting look easy, producing a display of well-flighted efforts from around the circle. It was a near-flawless shooting masterclass from the England captain.
Loughborough made five changes in the final quarter, but they could not stem the flow.
The closing stages also saw the introduction of Team Bath 18-year-old Sophie Masterson at goal-keeper for her first taste of Superleague action.
Cookey said: “The girls really stepped up tonight. We were a bit disappointed after last week’s defeat, but we righted the wrongs tonight. It was a great performance.”
Masterson added: “It was crazy, I can’t remember the first ten minutes.
"The crowd were great tonight. It’s a development year for me, I’m learning loads just training with the likes of Stacey [Francis] and Sam [Cook].”
Team Bath host Team Northumbria on Friday night. For ticket details, visit http://www.teambath.com/sport/netball/superleague/