Netball Superleague: Previewing Round 8's six huge fixtures

Netball ball

It's another action-packed weekend in the Netball Superleague, with six games over a two-day period. Surrey Storm are without a fixture, but the other 10 teams will all be battling it out on the court.

Here’s a breakdown of the six games that will be played across Sunday and Monday:

Manchester Thunder v Leeds Rhinos

In a match that will see the reigning champions take on the newest team in the league, Manchester Thunder face Leeds Rhinos at noon on Sunday in the first match of the weekend.

Thunder got back to winning ways last week with an emphatic 69-33 victory over Celtic Dragons. Rhinos come into this game having won their last two.

Alicia Scholes was a standout performer alongside Joyce Mvula in Thunder’s win over Dragons. Scholes’ long-range throws to Mvula helped the Manchester side dominate the game.

Rhinos’ head coach Dan Ryan is no stranger to their opposition on Sunday, with the Australian having the same role with Thunder in the 2015-16 season.

It’ll be the first time these two teams have met in the league, with Karen Greig hoping her side will maintain their push to retain the title again.

London Pulse v Team Bath

The second match on Sunday sees ninth-placed London Pulse go up against table-toppers, and the only unbeaten side in the league, Team Bath at 2pm.

Pulse have only won one game this campaign and coming up against a team in such immense form will be a tough ask.

Bath are the standout side so far. The consistency of their attacking pair, Kimberley Borger and Sophie Drakford-Lewis, is a key factor as to why they’ve won all seven games so far.

Borger is the league’s third-highest goalscorer with 184 goals, while Drakeford-Lewis has the second-best shot succession rate, scoring 130 goals out of 137 — a 94.89 percent success rate.

Can Pulse surprise all and be the team to get the better of Bath come Sunday?

Loughborough Lightning v Strathclyde Sirens

Loughborough Lightning are back in action this weekend after not having a fixture last week. They face Strathclyde Sirens at 4pm, with Lightning looking to reclaim top spot.

One Sirens player that will be looking to prevent this from happening is Towera Vinkhumbo. The Malawian currently sits atop the stats board with the most intercepts and turnovers in the league.

Lightning, however, will feel reasonably confident coming up against Vinkhumbo as they boast prolific goalscorer Mary Cholkok among their ranks as a goal-shooter. The Ugandan has an impressive 262 goals to her name — 64 more than second-highest scorer, Karyn Bailey.

Sirens became one of two sides to be part of the Superleague’s first ever draw two weeks ago. They then broke the record again last week, when drawing 32-all with Wasps.

Wasps v Celtic Dragons

Third-placed Wasps take on bottom of the table Celtic Dragons in Sunday’s final match at 6pm.

It’s hard to look past anything but a Wasps win in this one, with the Midlands outfit coming into the game unbeaten in four matches, while opponents Dragons are yet to register a win this season, losing all seven of their games so far.

Veteran goal-shooter Rachel Dunn has scored 172 of Wasps’ 320 goals to date this season, making her the fourth top goalscorer.

Dragons’ Amy Clinton had another good display for the Welsh team, scoring 21 of their 33 goals against Manchester Thunder last week. The 23-year-old will be looking to maintain this form on Sunday evening, - as her side aim to get their first win of the campaign.

Saracens Mavericks v Severn Stars

In the first of Monday evening’s fixtures, Saracens Mavericks face Severn Stars at 5:15pm.

Mavericks secured their fourth win of the season last week, when they beat Pulse 39-32. Monday’s opponents Stars are winless in their last two.

Stars’ goal-shooter, Georgia Rowe, has scored 130 out of a possible 138 shots in five games — a shot succession rate of 94.2 percent — making her the third most consistent attacker in the league.

Mavericks and England international goalkeeper Razia Quashie will be looking to intercept as many of Rowe’s chances as possible. The 23-year-old has 21 so far this campaign.

Stars are currently second-bottom in the table with just one win, so they’ll be hoping to turn their fortunes around come Monday evening.

London Pulse v Leeds Rhinos

The final game of the action-packed weekend sees Pulse battle Rhinos at 7:15pm. This makes for an interesting game, especially when they could be coming into it off the back of defeats on Sunday.

Rhinos’ attacker Sienna Rushton, who is only 19 years old, was forced into her side’s starting seven following Donnell Wallam’s injury early in season. Rushton has dealt with the pressure brilliantly, scoring 162 of Leeds' 321 goals so far.

GiveMeSport predictions:

Sunday

Thunder v Rhinos: Thunder win
Pulse v Bath: Bath win
Lightning v Sirens: Lightning win
Wasps v Dragons: Wasps win

Monday

Mavericks v Stars: Mavericks win
Pulse v Rhinos: Rhinos win

News Now - Sport News