Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final Preview

Netball
Updated Monday 12th June 2017, 09:31 AM


After 19 rounds, 92 games and 9,848 goals, the 2017 Netball Superleague season reaches its climax as Loughborough Lightning and Wasps battle it out to be crowned champions. All eyes will be on the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham for the first ever Grand Final meeting between these two midlands rivals, with a maiden title the reward for the winner. Both teams have enjoyed fantastic campaigns, but only one team can lift the trophy aloft and write their names in history. So, which side will triumph and who'll be left to lick their wounds?

The Fixtures

3rd v 4th Play-off

Manchester Thunder v Team Bath - The third/fourth place play-off is a game no side wants to play, but for beaten semi-finalists Manchester Thunder and Team Bath, this game presents one last chance to embrace that winning feeling before the season draws to a close. Both teams were well beaten in their respective semi-final clashes, with Thunder losing 63-48 to a rampant Wasps side, while Bath crashed out following a 66-45 defeat to the seemingly unstoppable Loughborough Lightning. This meeting could be a tricky one to call, especially with the heartache of Final Four failure so fresh in the minds of every player involved. The two clubs finished the regular season strongly and could not be separated when it came to their head-to-head record, with both sides picking up a win apiece; however, given the sheer levels of determination shown by the Somerset outfit to snatch a spot in the semis and the slightly longer recovery time between matches, Team Bath get the nod from sports.net.

  • Top Tip: Team Bath to win

 

The Grand Final

Loughborough Lighting v Wasps - Superleague fans could not have asked for a better final, as two local rivals aim to finish with a flourish and be crowned queens of the court in 2017. Both sides inflicted defeat on one another in the regular season, with Lightning condemning Wasps to their first ever loss in Round 4, before the Coventry outfit exacted their revenge by ruining their noisy neighbour's flawless record in around 12; this means there is very little to separate the teams. 

That one slip up to Wasps aside, Lighting swept aside all before them as they finished the season top of the table, nine points clear of their Grand Final opponents and with the best goal difference by some distance. The Leicestershire club's excellent form was helped by the scintillating form of Peace Proscovia, as the Ugandan helped herself to 812 of Lightning's 1,170 goals throughout the year. The 27-year-old proved crucial for her team yet again in the semi-final win over Team Bath, racking up an 88 percent conversion rate as she sank 44 of her 50 efforts. A similar showing could hand her team victory in the Grand Final, particularly against a Wasps side who conceded so freely at times during the campaign.

However, where Wasps occasionally fell short at the rear, they more than made up for in attack. The acquisition of key players like Rachel Dunn from Surrey Storm and Manchester Thunder's  Natalie Haythornthwaite provided the Superleague newcomers with some real firepower, while George Fisher's contributions cannot be overlooked. With such quality at their disposal, the girls from Coventry will take some stopping, especially after their recent victories over Team Bath and Manchester Thunder in Saturday's semi-final. Another factor to consider is that Tamsin Greenway's squad have performed miracles on the road this term, dropping just three points away from the Ricoh Arena and one more big push from the team in black and yellow would be enough to land the league title at the first time of asking.

Last year's finale between Surrey Storm and Manchester Thunder was decided by just two goals, and this season's showpiece could be equally as tight. Expect a close game, with plenty of chances at either end as Peace Proscovia and Rachel Dunn demonstrate why they are two of the best players in the division. However, with Wasps able to boast a strong starting seven and plenty of quality on the sidelines, there could be a nasty sting coming Lightning's way.

  • Top Tip: Wasps to win

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Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2017 09:31:57+00:00
Published By Sports.net


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