Manchester Thunder remained top of the Superleague table after easily disposing of Celtic Dragons at Belle Vue while second-placed Wasps saw-off third-placed Team Bath.
Saracens Mavericks’ hopes of breaking into the top four suffered a huge blow when they lost to bottom side London Pulse, who recorded only their second win of the season.
Severn Stars won their second game on the bounce for the first time this term, beating Strathclyde Sirens in Gloucester.
Thunder remain three points clear at the top of the table but now also have a goal difference that is 12 better than their nearest rivals following a convincing win.
“I’m happy with the result and while we were still a little off a complete performance we brought a much better intensity and purpose to our game that was a little lacking from our round 12 game [against Sirens],” Thunder coach Karen Greig said.
“Things are tight at the top of the table goal difference could prove vital.”
Wasps remain their closest rivals and of their victory over Team Bath, coach Mel Mansfield said: “That was potentially our best performance over the full 60 minutes against really strong opposition.”
Fourth-placed Loughborough Lightning face Surrey Storm in the final game of the round on Monday at 19:00 BST.
Game of the week – London Pulse 62-59 Saracens Mavericks
Pulse’s victory over Mavericks was even more remarkable considering the London outfit lost the reverse fixture 65-37.
Te Aroha Keenan’s Pulse side, who are in their inaugural season in the sport’s top-flight league, overcame a wobble in the second quarter to edge ahead in the second half at the Copper Box in London.
They welcomed back captain Ama Agbeze to sure up their defence, with the England skipper absent for several game due to illness, while New Zealand shooter Chiara Semple was in fine form at the other end.
Meanwhile, Mavericks’ week had already started with disappointment, as centre Gabby Marshall was ruled out for the rest of the season following the recurrence of an ankle injury.
The Purple and Blacks were off-colour in attack and an error-strewn second half cost them the three points, subjecting them to their second loss in a week.
Team Bath and England defender Eboni Usoro-Brown has experienced many memorable moments since England won Commonwealth gold in April 2018, including getting married and the Roses bagging two BBC Sports Personality Awards.
And she marked the night that started the winning journey, with 5 April 2019 exactly a year-on from the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast tournament.
“Crazy to think of the year we’ve had since the opening ceremony. This moment was so special. Such a privilege to be a part of Team England,” Usoro-Brown tweeted.
World Cup fever is already spreading
A specialist running and fitness store is stocking netball kit, including trainers in anticipation of this summer’s World Cup in Liverpool.
BBC Radio 5 Live assistant editor Angela Clarke spotted the kit on display in Manchester city centre.
She said: “As a netballer, I like to have the right trainers, it’s important.
“There was also a notice on it saying how 70% of the millions playing the sport in the UK don’t wear the right footwear.”
“But I don’t think I’ve ever seen netball trainers on sale in a UK sports store before. The store assistant said it was because of the buzz of the World Cup.
Results & fixtures
Saturday, 6 March
London Pulse 62-59 Saracens Mavericks
Manchester Thunder 73-46 Celtic Dragons
Severn Stars 49-40 Strathclyde Sirens
Wasps 61-46 Team Bath
Monday, 8 April
Loughborough Lightning v Surrey Storm (19:00 GMT)
|Superleague table 2019|
|*Severn Stars deducted three points|