23rd May, 2019

Wasps buzz after confirming Superleague semi-final place

Ben Tyler 23rd Apr, 2019

WASPS Netball confirmed their place in the Vitality Superleague semi-finals and assumed top spot in the table after a two-win Easter weekend at the Ricoh Arena.

A 64-48 win over Celtic Dragons was not entirely plain sailing, despite leading throughout the contest, as the hosts were forced to grit it out in a hotly-contested affair.

It followed a 76-42 victory for Mel Mansfield’s side on Saturday, providing the Wasps head coach with much cause for celebration after a six-point weekend.

“We’re really happy with our performances this weekend and we’ve come out of two tough games without any injuries too.

“It was a good battle out there with Dragons. There were quite a few stoppages in play and that really affected the flow of the game.

“It was a great squad performance, Fran Williams and Jade Clarke had fantastic games.

“That’s the semi-final spot secured now. We’re up in Scotland to face Sirens on Friday and that won’t be an easy fixture.”

Starting strongly with four unanswered goals, Wasps were pegged back by Kalifa McCollin’s opener for the visiting Dragons – who had their momentum stopped by an injury to Clarke.

Boosted by the star performance of Williams – later nominated Player of the Match – in defence, Wasps were able to nudge themselves in front to lead 16-12 at the end of quarter one.

Then, with Clarke back in the thick of the action, Wasps extended their advantage to lead by 12 at the break, thanks to the sharp shooting of Rachel Dunn and Katie Harris.

Momentum continued to build, so when Clarke made a fantastic interception to set Wasps back on the attack, it set up for further goals sinking into the Dragons net.

The visitors made it a scrappy, physical affair, so much so that Wasps’ Josie Huckle intervened to mop up some blood on the court.

A final-quarter that was an attacking masterclass from Wasps edged their lead to 16, as they held on for the win.

Saturday’s win over Surrey Storm was not dissimilar to Sunday’s victory, albeit a more straightforward affair for the hosts.

Wasps never relinquished their lead after forcing an early turnover, and opened a 21-8 first-quarter advantage.

That advantage was stretched to 20 goals with Tamsin Moala brought into the game, as Wasps began to run riot.

The depth of the squad was utilised going into Q3, with Beth Dix and Huckle entering the fray, added to by Moala’s goals in the final quarter to round off a 76-42 win.

Wasps return to action on Friday (7:30pm), when visiting Strathclyde Sirens in the penultimate game of the regular season.

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