Mavericks send Loughborough Lightning crashing to defeat

PUBLISHED: 09:36 08 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:14 22 February 2016

George Fisher claims the ball.Pictures courtesy of Herts Mavericks/Scrumpix

George Fisher claims the ball.Pictures courtesy of Herts Mavericks/Scrumpix

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Hertfordshire Mavericks maintained their fine start to the season as they beat Loughborough Lightning 49-44 at Herts Sports Village in their first home game of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

The Hatfield-based side had won their opening match of the campaign 60-39 against Celtic Dragons, and they backed that up on Saturday as Lightning came to town.

Mavericks made a great start going into an early five-goal lead, but Lightning edged back making the contest a tightly fought one, but the quarter ended with the hosts 13-11 ahead.

Lightning, led by former Mavericks player and coach Karen Atkinson, rallied and inconsistent play in attack by the home side led to too many turnovers giving Lightning a 25-22 advantage at half-time.

However, this season Mavericks have the luxury of four outstanding shooters (Sammy Wallace, Sophie Hankin, George Fisher and Louisa Watson) with all of them able to shoot from any range and under pressure.

Fisher entered the game to great effect and the change in attacking style gave Lightning a new challenge to cope with.

The 17-year-old was outstanding scoring 96 per cent and netting 12 goals from 12 attempts in the third quarter as Mavericks went back ahead by the end of the third period.

In a tense final quarter the game remained tight going into the last few minutes, but the experience and guile of Mavericks captain Layla Guscoth, Sam May and Joline Johannson took control of the play through the court.

Hankin entered the game late on, but made a great impact scoring 100 per cent of her shots enabling Mavericks to close out the game in style with the final score 49-44.

Afterwards Mavericks head coach Sam Bird said: “I’m delighted with the squad. Our shooters scored 89 per cent of shots for the game.

“We also met a number of team targets for the match.

“The depth of the squad shows that players can come on from the bench and make a huge impact.

“We still need to make improvements in the second phase of our attack, but two wins from two is a good start from which to continue to build.”

Mavericks are back in action tonight (Monday) as they travel to Newcastle to face Team Northumbria.

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