PREVIEW: Mel Mansfield's thoughts ahead of Superleague semi-final

Mel Mansfield says her squad’s experience will be key as Wasps Netball look to progress into a third successive Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final.

Wasps Netball host Loughborough Lightning at the University of Warwick’s Sports and Wellness Hub on Saturday 11 May (5pm centre-pass).

The semi-final fixture will see a re-match of the Grand Final from the last two seasons, as first-place finishers Wasps take on fourth-place Lightning.

Second-place Manchester Thunder face third-place Team Bath in the other semi-final, with the prize being a trip to the Copper Box Arena to compete for the Superleague trophy on Saturday 18 May.

Lightning are one of only two teams to beat Wasps in the regular season, but Mansfield says the team has developed since then and preparation has been perfect in the lead-up to the crunch clash.

“It’s a big test, but these are the games you play the whole season for and this group thrives under pressure,” Mansfield said.

“We’ve had a really strong run-in to the semi-finals, we’re coming off seven straight wins and some top performances.

“Each of the last two Grand Finals have been exciting, competitive games and we’re expecting this to be no different.

“It has been a good week of preparation for us and we will throw absolutely everything at it, physically, emotionally and tactically in order to get ourselves to the Grand Final.”

Wasps opened their 2019 Superleague campaign with a 72-42 win against Lightning, but the Loughborough side bounced back in the reverse fixture to secure a dramatic one-goal 60-59 win.

The fixture sees both Wasps’ Mansfield and Lightning’s Sara Bayman in their debut seasons in the top job going head-to-head.

Mansfield said: “It has been a great first season for Sara Bayman, she has guided her team to some r