Manchester Thunder moved three points clear at the top of the Netball Superleague table with a dramatic 50-49 victory over title rivals Wasps in round 11 of the season.
And Loughborough Lightning left it late to win their second game in a row by a single goal, to see-off a stubborn Severn Stars 54-53.
Despite the defeat, Stars head coach Sam Bird said: “A huge thank you to our squad for the outstanding performance they put out.
“The strides we have made together from our first match are huge. We deserved a win. Proud to be the Stars head coach.”
Wins for Bath, Lightning and Mavericks
Bath’s tight 51-47 win over Strathclyde Sirens on Friday kept them in the hunt for a top four spot, while Saracens Mavericks leap-frogged Wasps into second with a professional performance over Surrey Storm.
Mavericks are still without injured centre Gabby Marshall, but the experience of England internationals Sasha and Kadeen Corbin and shooting accuracy of George Fisher helped them over the line against an organised Storm.
Loughborough Lightning made hard work of their defeat of Stars, who could – and should – have taken the home win if they had not left it until the final quarter to catch up, when they outscored their visitors 14-7.
Game of the week – Manchester Thunder 50-49 Wasps
Wasps entered the Thunderdome on Saturday level on points with Manchester at the top of the table but in indifferent form, having lost two of their past three games, one of them against Thunder.
Desperate to avenge that home loss on 6 March – their first defeat of the season – the defending champions stayed in touch with Thunder, shrugging off the pressure of a vocal and hostile sell-out home crowd and took a lead into the final quarter.
But Thunder, known for their comebacks and never-give-up mentality, were one ahead with 10 seconds on the clock. In an attempt to level and force extra-time, Wasps centre Jade Clarke hurled the ball in to shooter Rachel Dunn but the feed was too long and it sailed out of court.
As a triumphant Thunder celebrated, a dejected Wasps will want to bounce back quickly in their next game against bottom side London Pulse on 31 March.
Pets can be a welcome distraction after a long day at work, they can provide you with love during your recovery from injury, as Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez often displays on his social media with his dogs Atom and Humber, and in netballer Jade Clarke’s case, to offer comfort after a horrible loss to her former side.
England and Wasps centre-courter Clarke had just suffered a one-goal defeat to Thunder in her hometown, and her automatic response was to retreat to her dog, Oscar.
Looks like Oscar was more interested in where his next meal was coming from, however.
Results & fixtures
Friday, 22 March
Team Bath 51-47 Strathclyde Sirens
Saturday, 23 March
Manchester Thunder 50-49 Wasps
Severn Stars 53-54 Loughborough Lightning
Saracens Mavericks 58-50 Surrey Storm
Monday, 25 March
Celtic Dragons v London Pulse (19:00 GMT)
|Superleague table 2019|
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