Team Bath stun Surrey in season opener

Rachel Shaw

Team Bath’s Rachel Shaw was part of this month’s England squad for the Test series against Australia.

Reigning Superleague champions Surrey Storm threw away a 10-goal lead as Team Bath began the season with a win.

Storm led 37-27 late in the third quarter before Bath mounted a comeback to secure a 47-44 victory.

Their win rounded off ‘Super Saturday’ which saw all eight Superleague teams start the season at one venue on the same day for the first time.

There were also wins for Hertfordshire Mavericks, Loughborough Lightning and Manchester Thunder.

After a shaky start, Storm worked patiently in attack and produced a run of six straight goals to lead 14-11 at the first break.

England international Ebony Beckford-Chambers produced a number of intercepts for Team Bath but Surrey’s attacking combination of Rachel Dunn and Pamela Cookey proved too strong and they stretched their lead to 10.

Dunn continued to execute superb long-range shots, but Bath’s defence rallied and superb feeds into goal shooter Chelsea Lewis drew her side level.

The scoreline moved back and forth in the final 10 minutes, before Bath completed the turnaround.

Mavericks kick off Super Saturday with victory

Last season’s runners-up Hertfordshire Mavericks got their campaign off to the perfect start as they cruised to a 60-39 victory over Celtic Dragons in the first game of the day at Birmingham’s Genting Arena.

Wales international Georgia Rowe spearheaded the Dragons’ attack and was on the receiving end of some fine long balls from mid-court, but the Welsh side struggled to cope with the defensive power of Mavericks’ captain Layla Guscoth.

Hertfordshire racked up the defensive turnovers in the second quarter and their smooth transition into attack created a 32-13 lead at half-time.

Dragons continued to fight in the second half with Fijian defender Episake Kahatoka disrupting Mavericks’ flow, but 2015’s beaten finalists showed their strength in depth to record an easy win.

New look Loughborough overpower Jets

Loughborough Lightning also made a winning start to their campaign as they overcame last season’s semi-finalists Yorkshire Jets 65-34.

The Jets, who won both encounters last season, struggled against a Lightning side which contained six international players in their starting seven.

Loughborough’s Ama Agbeze impressed for England in their recent series defeat to Australia.

Lightning bolstered their squad over the summer, adding England internationals Ama Agbeze, Kadeen Corbin, Sasha Corbin and Jade Clarke to their ranks.

Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia and player of the match Agbeze were in fine form as Loughborough raced into a 28-13 half-time lead.

Yorkshire captain Stacey Francis put up a fight in defence and produced some superb intercepts but her side were well beaten by an experienced Lightning outfit.

Thunder start with a bang

New Zealand international Liana Leota impressed as Manchester Thunder cruised to a 58-37 victory over Team Northumbria.

Liana Leota, whose husband plays for Sale Sharks, joined Manchester Thunder from ANZ side Central Pulse.

Leota, who has played 41 times for the Silver Fearns, produced a scintillating attacking display as the 2014 Superleague champions took a 28-22 half-time lead.

Lynsey Armitage impressed in the shooting circle on her debut for Northumbria and linked well with fellow newcomer and Jamaican ace Shanice Beckford.

But the introduction of England’s Helen Housby in the second half added consistency to the Thunder attack and the former champions pulled away.

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