Netball Superleague: Bath top, Loughborough and Manchester keep pressure on

By Jess AndersonBBC Sport
Celtic Dragons v Manchester Thunder
Manchester Thunder beat Celtic Dragons 69-33 last time they faced each other

Team Bath are three points clear at the top of the Superleague after ending Leeds Rhinos' five-match winning run with a 59-43 victory.

The leaders outclassed the division's newest franchise, whose coach Dan Ryan described Bath as "ferocious".

Loughborough Lightning beat Severn Stars 50-41 and followed that up with a 53-28 win over Surrey Storm, cutting Bath's advantage to three points.

Manchester Thunder stayed third as they beat a confident Celtic Dragons 54-40.

As they prepare for a busy round 16 in which they will face both Wasps and Saracens Mavericks, Thunder showcased their strength in depth.

Thunder head coach Karen Greig said her side showed "flashes of brilliance" and praised Malawi shooter Joyce Mvula, who scored 29 goals from 30 shots.

Elsewhere, a decisive third quarter from Strathclyde Sirens saw them pull away to win 52-39 against Storm, who are without a win in 12 games.

Wasps secured a vital three points against in-form London Pulse to win 42-37 after making hard work of the first-half as head coach Mel Mansfield said her side needed to "work harder for longer" to maintain their top-four position.

Game of the week - Team Bath 59-43 Leeds Rhinos

Team Bath v Leeds Rhinos
Team Bath's Kim Borger scored 43 goals as Sophie Drakeford-Lewis bagged 16

Bath beat the Rhinos by just six goals the last time the teams met - but this was a classy performance as the newcomers lost for the first time at the Copperbox.

Rhinos, who are four points off a top-four spot, were unable to find the key feeds into the circle for star shooter Donnell Wallam, with Bath's stalwart defensive pairing of Layla Guscoth and Eboni Usoro-Brown holding the Australian to 35 goals - her lowest score of the season so far.

Bath were particularly dominant in the second quarter - the five-time champions scoring 17 goals to the Rhinos' eight - but head coach Anna Stembridge wants more, saying they are "still looking for that fourth-quarter performance".

Rhinos head coach Dan Ryan said: "We couldn't match the quality of Bath's performance - they were ferocious."

Results & fixtures

Round 15

Sunday, 9 May

Severn Stars 41-50 Loughborough Lightning

Team Bath 59-43 Leeds Rhinos

Strathclyde Sirens 52-39 Surrey Storm

Celtic Dragons 40-54 Manchester Thunder

Monday, 10 May

Loughborough Lightning 53-28 Surrey Storm

Wasps 42-37 London Pulse

Vitality Netball Superleague table 2021
TeamPlayedWonLostDrawForAgainstGoal DifferencePoints
Team Bath15141073253919342
Loughborough Lightning15132082458723739
Manchester Thunder14113074757517233
Saracens Mavericks148516376082925
Leeds Rhinos15870721722-124
Strathclyde Sirens15762612624-1223
London Pulse153120542629-879
Severn Stars153120542714-1729
Surrey Storm152130582726-1446
Celtic Dragons151140537850-3133
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