Adoring Hatfield public raise the roof as Saracens Mavericks mark first home game with huge win over Loughborough Lightning
PUBLISHED: 20:29 25 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:18 26 January 2019
Saracens Mavericks christened their first home game of the Vitality Netball Superleague season in style with a huge 64-51 win over Loughborough Lightning.
The Mavs had been boosted on the eve of the season by the news of a link-up between themselves and the Gallagher Premiership Rugby giants.
But as luck would have it the first chance for the Hertfordshire squad to play in front of their adoring Hatfield public was delayed until week three.
However, the hosts didn’t disappoint and in front of the vociferous sold-out crowd inside Hertfordshire Sports Village, they raced into a comfortable half-time lead before closing things out in the second half.
Both teams came into the contest with one win and one defeat, with both losing on the opening day in the Super 10s.
Loughborough’s win came at home to Severn Stars while the Mavs went to Surrey and recorded a superb 59-39 success.
Lightning had finished as runners-up to Wasps last season and there was a genuine buzz ahead of the match with the excitement from the Hatfield crowd palpable.
And the first half was one to savour for those cheering on the black and purple.
A three-goal burst opened the game and although it went point for point over the vast majority of the first quarter, a further two-goal surge closed it out and gave Saracens a five-point lead.
That was doubled in the first five minutes of quarter two as once again the Mavs flew out of the blocks.
But as much as the transition up the court was giving George Fisher and Kadeem Corbin plenty of opportunities, it was the turnovers being forced by Razia Quashie and Jo Tripp in defence that was the key factor.
Quashie in particular had her hands full with the six-foot seven inch Mary Cholhok against her but in a typically terrier-like display the Mavs GK rarely gave her a moment’s peace.
By half-time Saracens lead by 11 but the third-quarter saw the visitors slowly chip away at that advantage.
They had pulled it back to six until Fisher landed a shot with just four seconds left, a moment that brought the biggest cheer of the night to that point.
That though was eclipsed though with just over four minutes of the final quarter played.
Loughborough had reduced the gap to 45-41 and Saracens looked a touch nervous.
But suddenly a great play by Sasha Corbin to keep the ball in play led to a quick counter and a goal by Fisher.
She added another moments later and a mere five minutes later with the noise level increasing all the time, Mavs were 55-44 ahead.
It made the final stages a formality.
What the long-term future holds for Mavericks now they have Saracens in their corner remains to be seen.
What is clear though is that on the court they aren’t doing too bad just as they are and on this performance, the boisterous sell-out crowds will return to Hatfield for a long time to come.
Q1: Saracens Mavericks 17 Loughborough Lightning 12
Q2: Saracens Mavericks 35 Loughborough Lightning 24
Q3: Saracens Mavericks 44 Loughborough Lightning 37
Q4: Saracens Mavericks 64 Loughborough Lightning 51
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