Netball Superleague: Bath & Loughborough seal top-four spots as Sirens stun Wasps

By Jess AndersonBBC Sport
Thunder v Mavericks
Thunder have won their last three matches, losing to Bath in round 14

Team Bath beat Surrey Storm and Loughborough Lightning overcame London Pulse to secure semi-final spots in the Superleague.

Strathclyde Sirens came from 22-19 down at half-time to stun Wasps 44-39 and breathe life into the top-four race.

Saracens Mavericks lost 60-42 to third-placed Manchester Thunder, allowing Leeds Rhinos - who beat Severn Stars - and Sirens to leapfrog them.

Six points separate fourth and seventh with four rounds to be played.

Bath's 55-39 victory over second-from-bottom Storm was their 15th of the season, while Lightning's 42-35 win over Pulse keeps them three points behind - with sights now set firmly on the finals weekend at the end of June.

Game of the week - Wasps 39-44 Strathclyde Sirens

Sirens v Wasps
Sirens shooter Emma Barrie scored 25 goals from 26 shots in their victory over Wasps

With Sirens continuing to improve this season, pressure has continued to mount on Wasps' campaign for fourth spot.

The game went goal-for-goal for the first-half until Wasps edged a half-time advantage. Veteran Wasps shooter Rachel Dunn was prolific under the post, scoring her 450th goal of the season, but Sirens captain Gia Abernethy drove through mid-court to soak up the pressure and keep her side's score ticking over.

A devastating third quarter for Wasps proved to be their undoing. They lost mid-courter Iona Christian to an ankle injury and failed to prevent killer passes into the Sirens shooters, with the two-time champions eventually succumbing to the Scottish outfit's persistence.

Wasps head coach Mel Mansfield said the defeat had put them in a "difficult position" and that the 16-6 third-quarter deficit had been "unforgivable".

The race for the top four

Bath and Lightning have confirmed their semi-final spots and Thunder are expected to join them - but the fight for the last spot could go the distance.

Wasps seemed to be in control, but a lack of consistency has left them clinging on.

After Sunday's defeat by Sirens, Wasps then lost 53-47 to defending champions and great rivals Thunder on Monday to be left in a precarious position. They have only two games left, having played more than any other team.

Mavericks, the only side to have beaten league leaders Bath, had looked set to disrupt the top-four and challenge for their first title since 2011 - but the loss to Thunder and success of teams around them means they drop to seventh, albeit with games in hand.

Sirens, who have eight wins and two draws, have muscled themselves into contention alongside Rhinos, who have impressed in their debut season with nine wins - two coming against Wasps and Mavericks.

The Superleague will return with a double-header weekend from Friday, 28 May.

Results & fixtures

Round 16

Sunday, 16 May

Severn Stars 36-63 Leeds Rhinos

Team Bath 55-39 Surrey Storm

Wasps 39-44 Strathclyde Sirens

Manchester Thunder 60-42 Saracens Mavericks

Monday, 17 May

Wasps 47-53 Manchester Thunder

London Pulse 35-42 Loughborough Lightning

Vitality Netball Superleague table 2021
TeamPlayedWonLostDrawForAgainstGoal DifferencePoints
Team Bath16151078757820945
Loughborough Lightning16142086661425242
Manchester Thunder16133086066419639
Leeds Rhinos169707847582627
Strathclyde Sirens16862656663-726
Saracens Mavericks158616796681125
London Pulse153120560648-889
Severn Stars163130578777-1999
Surrey Storm162140621781-1606
Celtic Dragons151140537850-3133