WASPS Netball began their Vitality Netball Superleague season with a resounding 72-42 win over Loughborough Lightning, repeating the success of their Grand Final win last season.
It was the third quarter where Wasps caused most damage – sharp shooting from Rachel Dunn and Katie Harris making a telling difference on the scoreline as the 2018 champions ran away with victory in Mel Mansfield’s first outing as head coach.
Reacting to her side’s dominant performance, Mansfield pinpointed the pre-season focus on improving fitness levels as a key factor in the impressive nature of their win.
“I was really pleased. It was a great start and we got the result we deserved,” she said.
“We slowed up a bit in the second quarter but after half-time we regrouped and came out firing and that was really impressive for me.
“We’ve worked really hard to be in the best shape possible to start the season and that showed in the final quarter. We didn’t take our foot off the pedal and played at full pace right to the end.”
Dunn and Loughborough goal shooter Amy Clinton were clinical for their sides in the opening exchanges, while Jade Clarke was key in carving out openings for her Wasps team-mates.
Seeing out the first quarter with a ten-point lead, Loughborough responded with three unanswered goals to lead 26-20, but Wasps would turn the tide once more to lead by seven at half-time.
Sam May and Fran Williams’ introductions were timely as Lightning began to drop off and commit numerous mistakes which Wasps took full advantage of, whilst there were debuts for Ugandan goal shooter Mary Nubas Cholhok and Tamsin Moala in the closing quarter.
Their sheer dominance clearly showed in the closing 15 minutes as the gap grew to a remarkable 30 points, Mansfield’s side showing every ounce of determination to put out a statement to the rest of the league as they aim to clinch a third successive Superleague title.