All change but new look Mavericks start pre-season with impressive victories
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 December 2017
It has been a busy off-season for Hertfordshire Mavericks - not least with a change of name.
The Vitality Netball Superleague side, who are based at the Hertfordshire Sports Village, will now be known as benecosMavericks after the team’s main sponsor extended their partnership for another three years.
Head coach Kathryn Ratnapala has also been busy recruiting and nine new players took to the court on Saturday as the Mavericks competed against UWS Sirens, Team Bath and hosts Surrey Storm in the Storm’s Springfree Super Fours competition.
It was the first outing for the new look squad, with 14 players available for the day and only Michelle Drayne being unavailable due to international commitments.
It was also a chance to get some combinations out on court before the season starts in February.
Coach Ratnapala said: “All three games had areas of improvement. We are by no means the finished article but with two months still to go before the beginning of the season, I’m excited about how this squad is coming together.
“With over half of the squad new to Mavericks this year, it’s important that we all find our feet and ensure we continue to work on lots of combinations.
“The squad is really competitive and we are excited about the prospect of having everyone really fighting for their places in the 12 for the season.”
Their first match was against the hosts and after a nervy start, they ran out 42-36 winners.
They eventually took the first quarter 10-8 and extended the lead to 24-14 by half-time.
That gap though was halved by the end of the third but the Mavs closed the game out thanks to the introduction of Clare Drakeford in the fourth.
Next up was the Sirens, who are packed with a huge amount of international experience and they led 19-12 at half-time.
Changes in the third gave Mavs much more drive and they narrowed the gap to three before completing the comeback with a 36-33 win.
And the Mavericks completed a clean sweep of victories by beating Bath in the final game 42-39 to take the pre-season title.
Their next action is on Saturday, January 13 against the National Men on at HSV.
Tickets can be found at mavericksnetball.co.uk