Saracens Mavericks down but better showing against Loughborough has them looking up

Jo Trip in action for Saracens Mavericks

Jo Trip won a number of valuable turnovers for Saracens Mavericks against Loughborough Lightning in the Netball Superleague. - Credit: STEVE PORTER PICTURES

A second defeat to Loughborough Lightning means Saracens Mavericks continue in the role of play-off chasers but there was much more for the boss to be happy with.

The two sides had met in February when Lightning had handed the Hatfield-based side their first Netball Superleague loss of the season with a heavy 60-35 score.

The return at the Copper Box was slightly closer at 55-47 but for large periods of this game Mavs were either still in the contest, tied 27-27 at half time for example, or even leading the way, a five-point gap with a little over three minutes to go in the third quarter being a big case in point.

Loughborough managed to get their noses in front by the start of the final period and stayed in front for the remainder but even though the loss has Saracens five points behind fourth-placed Manchester Thunder, and having played two games more, Ratnapala was happy to see the progression from previous weeks.

She said: "You can pinpoint quite a few moments [where the game got away from us] and that’s we can definitely hold our heads up high. We did compete for the full duration of that game. 

"The eight-goal run in the last quarter obviously did not help us at all but equally there were moments in the first, second and third quarters that we needed to capitalise on and push on from. 

"Some of the girls are disappointed individually but I’ve just said to them we win or lose as a team. 

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"It hurts but it was a better performance which I’m really proud of. 

"There were people who stepped up and delivered which is what we’ve been asking from them."

Those missed chances to capitalise are small points which the boss believes can be put right ahead of the short turnaround.

Mavericks play Celtic Dragons today, (Saturday) and simply adapting to the small changes that happen on court should see them to victory in Ratnapala's eyes.

She said: "Something changed in those moments, whether that was us, Lightning, the umpires or timing. 

"It’s about adapting. We can’t keep letting the same thing happen to us and we need to learn. 

"That’s what we didn’t do enough of. 

"They are second in the table and we want to be up there [with them] and we want to be competing. 

"We did so hopefully everybody is still behind us and we’ll take the positives from that game."

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