Vitality Superleague: London Pulse and Surrey Storm claim Season Opener wins
Last year’s bottom franchise London Pulse got off to a winning start, as the Vitality Netball Superleague season got under way in Birmingham beating Strathclyde Sirens.
For all ten teams – an game introduced into the programs despite the opening round of fixtures’ slightly contentious nature – there was a sold out Arena Birmingham treated to improve in their 2019 campaigns.
Pulse acquired the better of the group that finished one spot above them last year, edging out Sirens 53-51, plus it had been the identical story in the second match together with Surrey Storm, eighth season, grabbing a last-gasp 44-43 win having uttered Celtic Dragons throughout.
Two of Sirens three wins last year came against Pulse, as South Africa shooter Sigi Burger was the deciding factor in a victory but the group from the capital obtained their revenge.
After an impressive first time in the Superleague with Surrey Storm, Burger changed to the pink of Pulse and also her operation under the posts will probably thrill coach Sam Bird as the group look to improve on their debut effort.
Sirens are under new leadership, Lesley MacDonald taking control, and there has been plenty to impress her because the only franchise of Scotland remained in touch throughout – despite being without talented adolescent shooter Emma Barrie.
Shooting proved to be Sirens difficulty this past year and while they improved in their quantity, MacDonald will be keen to find that the third improve their conversion rate since chances allowed Pulse to turn into a first quarter advantage by half-time.
The fellow Protea Zanele Vimbela of burger was electrical in defence moving on to procure Player of the Match honours and showing her excellent elevation. However, the difficulty was in assault. Sirens had created 11 opportunities to score compared to their opponents but trailed by four although after.
With small between the two at the final 15 minutes Pulse did enough to keep Sirens by closing a keenly-contested affair with a victory and set a losing stretch to the end of 2019 supporting them.
Up – Last year Pulse acquired their opener but did not win again until April, they travel to Storm at Round Two in front of the Sky Sports cameras trusting this season’s wait it isn’t so long.
Sirens are also on the road going south from Glasgow to face the defeated semi-finalists Loughborough Lighting from the hope of stopping their losing run of a year.
Two-time Superleague champions Surrey Storm found a way to squeeze a victory out of their game over the lineup to get a 44-43 victory with Celtic Dragons to scramble.
Dragons did the double on Storm about the way to their very best year since 2016, and they looked good value for a second win by starting up an early advantage after an impressive first quarter and settling quickly.
bags of optimism, Dragons played Having a guide while the Storm of Mikki Austin struggled to get some rhythm and it was the group from Wales that went on to extend their lead to five by half-time.
Defences continued to hold the upper hand, however, Storm’s off-season recruit Karyn Bailey was starting to grow in the match and while it was honours even during the next quarter that the warning signs were there for Dragons.
Bailey chipped away in the deficit in the final quarter, also with four minutes levelled the contest with three minutes then put her side 42-41 in front for the first time as the opening 15 minutes.
A conclusion saw neither side able to force a turnover plus they split the last four goals of the match to counteract the narrowest of victories.
Up – Twist return to Surrey Sports Park for its second round of Superleague actions if they choose on Sirens the two teams seeking to take the chance.
Dragons are back in Wales next Saturday and face something of a derby contest against Team Bath.
When YouTube, Mix and Arena amuse London Pulse, unite us from 7pm coverage of the Vitality Superleague season continues on Monday