Match report: London Pulse 50 – 61 Wasps Netball
Wasps Netball celebrated Rachel Dunn’s 200th Superleague appearance with a 61-50 win against London Pulse.
Mel Mansfield’s team trailed early but fought back and pulled away from their hosts in the third-quarter, securing back-to-back victories to start their 2019 campaign.
The fixture marked the first time Wasps and Pulse had faced each other in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Mansfield said: “We knew Pulse were going to come at us today after their last loss and we were ready for that.
“I was really impressed with how we came back to win the second-quarter after losing the first.
“We had to make some changes at half-time to combat their incredibly accurate shooting circle and I thought we really improved there throughout the second half.
“Rachel Dunn was as steady as anything on her 200th game and it was great to see Bongi Msomi back out there in Wasps colours too.
“We made a lot of errors today and I think we need to consider about how and where we can win the ball back. That will be our focus in training ahead of playing Surrey Storm next weekend.”
Dunn opened the scoring for Wasps with the first goal of the game but both teams were in offensive rhythm throughout the opening stages, trading goal-for-goal.
Msomi, making her first appearance of the season, starred throughout the first quarter and showed why Wasps had brought her back following a season away from the team.
The South Africa captain consistently found pockets of space on the court and fed the ball to Dunn in the attacking circle.
But Pulse showed defensive resolve, with goal keeper Honor De Winton impressing and troubling the visiting shooters.
The home side found consistent success with long balls to rangy goal shooter Shantal Slater and led by two goals at the end of the first quarter.
Katie Harris starred to pull Wasps back level within minutes of the restart, backed up by a series of impressive defensive plays from Hannah Knights and Fran Williams.
Wasps took advantage of successive loose passes from Pulse to lead by three goals at half-time, with Dunn’s battle with England teammate Ama Agbeze taking centre stage.
Mansfield introduced the experienced trio of Josie Huckle, Sophia Candappa and Sam May after the break – with May and Huckle immediately disrupting shooters in the defensive circle.
The Black and Golds found their rhythm quickly in the third period, benefiting from the home side’s misplaced passes to stretch their lead to six.
Harris and Dunn combined well as Wasps took control of the game, building a double-digit advantage going into the final quarter.
Pulse rallied early in the final quarter but Dunn continued to improve her tally to keep her side in the lead.
Chloe Essam was given her Black and Gold Superleague debut in the closing stages, as Wasps secured a 61-50 victory.
Wasps Netball season tickets and general match tickets are now on sale. For more information go to www.waspsnetball.co.uk
Wasps starting seven: GK Hannah Knights; GD Fran Williams; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Bongi Msomi; GA Katie Harris; GS Rachel Dunn
Used substitutes: Josie Huckle (GK); Sam May (WD); Sophia Candappa (WA); Chloe Essam (GA)
Pulse starting seven: GK Honor De Winton; GD Ama Agbeze; WD Beatrice Skingsley; C Taylor Cullen; WA Ashleigh Neal; GA Chiara Semple; GS Shantal Slater