REPORT: Wasps Netball 54 - 50 Saracens Mavericks

Wasps Netball came through a tough test with a 54-50 win against title challengers Saracens Mavericks. Mel Mansfield’s team trailed in the second-quarter and resisted a late comeback from Mavericks to secure their fourth successive victory. Sophia Candappa was named Player of the Match for the first time in her career. Mansfield said: “We knew this was going to be our toughest test yet and it was exactly that. “We’ve had strong third-quarters in each of our last three games and that shined through again. “In training we have been working hard on our fitness levels and maintaining performance levels. “When we took the lead in the third-quarter I didn’t feel like we were going to fall behind again. “Having a tight game like this will be really good for us, the team will have learnt a lot about themselves tonight.” George Fisher opened the scoring for the hosts on her return to Ricoh Arena but Katie Harris levelled the score within seconds. A flying intercept from Hannah Knights proved an early highlight, as the home side built toward a six-goal lead. Mavericks worked their back into the game with ease and were soon within one goal, through some strong play from Sasha Corbin. Both sides continued to go goal-for-goal until the end of the first-quarter, with Wasps maintaining a slender one-goal advantage. Mavericks started the second-quarter quickly and took the lead through strong shooting from Kadeen Corbin and supported by a series of turnovers from the home side. The visitors were faster to every ball over the next five minutes and built a five-goal advantage. A defensive stop from Wasps Goal Keeper Sam May swung momentum and her side capitalised with back-to-back quickfire goals to bring Wasps level at half-time. Candappa took to the court for the third-quarter and made an immediate impact, helping the Black and Golds to three unanswered goals. Wasps pressed their advantage over the next eight minutes - despite physical defending from the visitors attempting to disrupt the hosts’ attacking flow. The combination of Harris and Rachel Dunn proved unmatchable, exchanging quick passes to work around the Mavericks defence and growing an eight-goal lead. Fran Williams impressed in the final-quarter against her England teammates Kadeen Corbin and Fisher. Mavericks surged back and were soon within four, with only Dunn’s immaculate shooting keeping Wasps in front. But Mansfield’s side managed to hold off the visitors and come away 54-50 winners. Wasps Netball’s next fixture will see them face Celtic Dragons at Sport Wales National Centre on Monday 18 February (7pm centre-pass). ENDS Attendance: 1,070 Player of the match: Sophia Candappa Q1: 15-14 Q2: 27-27 Q3: 43-36 Q4: 54-50 Wasps starting seven: GK Sam May; GD Hannah Knights; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Bongi Msomi; GA Katie Harris; GS Rachel Dunn Used substitutes: Sophia Candappa (WA); Fran Williams (GD) Mavericks starting seven: GK Razia Quashie; GD Jo Trip; WD Michelle Drayne; C Sasha Corbin; WA Georgia Lees; GA Kadeen Corbin ; GS George Fisher