Mavericks slay Celtic Dragons

PUBLISHED: 16:09 17 March 2014 | UPDATED: 16:10 17 March 2014

Layla Guscoth

Layla Guscoth

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Hertfordshire Mavericks kept their position in the top four of the Zeo Netball Superleague table with a 55-41 win over Celtic Dragons in Cardiff on Friday night, writes Beth Shine.

Coming off the back of an agonising two-goal defeat to Surrey Storm at the Copper Box, Mavericks were looking to secure their position in the top four of the table as the second phase of the season got underway.

Inspired by brilliant defending by Layla Guscoth up against the intimidating 6ft 6inch Lottysha Cato, Mavericks never let their lead slip, despite a strong fight back from Celtic Dragons to secure the victory.

Mavericks took a 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter against a resilient Dragons’ side, who had fought back from 18 goals down to beat the Yorkshire Jets in their last match.

The visitors did a brilliant job of pressuring the ball high up the court, not allowing Celtic Dragons to feed the long ball into Cato as they struggled to find their target shooter, and the home crowd grew increasingly quiet.

However, Celtic Dragons kept the pressure on, as the Mavericks failed to capitalise on turnover ball as the home side roared back to within two goals, with the visitors heading into half-time 24-22 ahead.

Head coach Karen Atkinson issued clear instructions to her side at the break and it worked as the visitors came out firing, with Rose Morgan-Smith and captain Sasha Corbin working hard to find space around the circle to feed the ball into their shooters Sophie Hankin and Kadeen Corbin, who sank their shots with confidence.

Strong defensive pressure from Samantha May and Guscoth meant Mavericks were able to stretch their lead to ten as three quarter time approached.

Despite being known for their famous comebacks, Celtic Dragons could not claw back the deficit as Mavericks’ all court defence continued to pressurise the home side into mistakes, and Corbin and Hankin continued shooting with confidence and flair under the net.

Unlike in previous games Mavericks were able to make the most of their opportunities and they ended the game 51-44 winners, taking maximum points.

Speaking afterwards, player of the match Guscoth admitted there was still much to work on for the Mavericks.

“We kept going into a 10ish goal lead and then we’d let them back in.

“It’s a bit of a characteristic trait of ours at the moment, so we definitely need to learn, but we need to push on from that,” she said.

Mavericks next face Manchester Thunder away tonight (Monday), where they will be looking to avenge a 10-goal loss from round three.

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