TeamBath win fourth Superleague crown
TeamBath today (Saturday) won a historic fourth Co-operative Netball Superleague title beating Hertfordshire Mavericks 51-44 in a thrilling grand final in Nottingham.
It means TeamBath have now won four out of the five Superleague titles contested, adding today’s victory to their titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009 – when they also beat Mavericks on each occasion in the final.
But they were made to work hard for their fourth title by a battling Mavericks side who came out hard at the start to establish an early lead and didn’t give until the final whistle.
TeamBath head coach Jess Garland said: “It was the start we had anticipated with Mavericks coming out hard. It was disappointing to see them five ahead in the first quarter, but we always knew we could claw that back during the course of the game.
“Mavericks started each quarter well and really applied the pressure, but our attack got more and more clinical as the game went on. It was a massive grinding out performance by the whole team and a well-earned win.”
TeamBath captain Pamela Cookey said: “It was an awesome performance today. Our first quarter wasn’t the best, but everyone stepped up when it really mattered. Everyone was amazing, I feel so proud of them.”
Eboni Beckford-Chambers added: “We took a bit of time to adjust to what Mavericks were trying to do, but it was a great comeback. We have got so many players who can play well in pressure situations and I didn’t ever doubt us.”
In a frenetic contest fitting of the season finale, Mavericks came out of the blocks quicker than TeamBath and had the better of the opening exchanges. Louisa Brownfield and Ella Clark were unerringly accurate in the shooting circle and they found themselves 8-3 up midway through the first quarter and 13-8 up at the first break.
Mavericks extended their lead to six early in the second quarter, but then the tide started to turn. Inspired by Jo Binns, Serena Guthrie and Sasha Corbin in midcourt, TeamBath clawed their way back into the game, with Cookey and Rosie Allison both finding their accuracy in the shooting circle.
Binns squeezed the ball through to Cookey to reduce the deficit to two goals at 14-12 five minutes into the second quarter, but it took just over another five minutes of play until TeamBath went ahead for the first time in the game, when Binns fed Cookey and she scored to make it 19-18.
Mavericks battled back to 21-21 in the dying moments of the quarter, but Allison scored again to give TeamBath the quarter at 14-8 and with it a slender 22-21 lead at the halfway mark.
The lead lasted for less than a minute before Mavericks scored two quick goals to grab the lead again. TeamBath were chasing the game again.
Brownfield scored three goals in quick successive to give Mavericks a 27-24 lead, before Cookey pulled two goals back.
Mavericks edged into the lead, but TeamBath then hit Mavericks with a quickfire spell of five unanswered goals to take them from 30-31 down to 35-31 up. First Cookey scored, then Allison after clever work by Cookey and Corbin. Allison scored again, then Cookey stole the ball from the centre pass and then scored to make it 34-31, before Allison converted to give TeamBath a 35-31 lead.
But a determined Mavericks came back strongly again and the third quarter ended 36-33.
Mavericks were fast out of the blocks again in the final quarter and levelled the game at 37-37, before Cookey scored twice to make it 39-37 with 10 minutes remaining.
TeamBath turned the screw, with Beckford-Chambers and player of the match Stacey Francis making things increasingly difficult for the Mavericks shooters as the clock ticked down and the pressure intensified.
Allison and Cookey continued to combine well and when Allison took the score to 48-41 with three minutes remaining, Mavericks’ fate looked sealed. There was still time for Cookey to score twice more and Allison once as TeamBath ended the stronger and closed out the game at 51-44, much to the joy of their fantastic travelling army of supporters.
Quarter scores (TeamBath first): Q1 8-13, Q2 14-8 (22-21) Q3 14-12 (36-33) Q4 15-11 (51-44)
GS Rosie Allison, GA Pamela Cookey, WA Sasha Corbin, C Jo Binns, WD Serena Guthrie, GD Stacey Francis, GK Eboni Beckford-Chambers
Bench: Kirsty Delves, Lindsay Keable, Lois Rideout, Asha Tett, Amanda Trounce
Q1 changes: Beckford-Chambers to GD, Francis to GK. Q3 changes: Beckford-Chambers to GK, Francis to GD
GS Louisa Brownfield, GA Ella Clark, WA Rose Morgan-Smith, C Karen Atkinson, WD Camilla Buchanan, GD Hazel Schofield, GK Amanda Newton.
Bench: Denika Campbell-Lee, Naomi Stenhouse, Monique Wood, Vicklyn Joseph, Georgia Scmidt.
Q3 changes: Atkinson to WA, Buchanan to C Schmidt to WD. Q4 change: Wood to GA, Morgan-Smith to WA, Atkinson to C, Buchanan to WD.