• Wed. Feb 24th, 2021

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Coverage of the Vitality Netball Superleague continues at 4pm with three back-to-back matches streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel; first up it’s Celtic Dragons taking on Strathclyde Sirens

Last Updated: 21/02/21 2:17pm

Sienna Rushton put in a player of the match performance for Leeds Rhinos Netball

Leeds Rhinos Netball put a difficult week behind them to record their second victory of the Vitality Netball Superleague season with a 50-44 result against Surrey Storm.

The competition’s newest outfit, who announced the news of injuries to Donnell Wallam, Fi Toner, Tuaine Keenan and Brittany Coleman during the week, showed their determination to prevail over Mikki Austin’s side

The contest was the first of four matches during a bumper day of netball in Wakefield. Surrey Storm’s next opponents, Celtic Dragons, will take to court at 4pm against Strathclyde Sirens, before Manchester Thunder meet London Pulse.

The final encounter of the day will see Loughborough Lightning taking on Saracens Mavericks.

Rhinos’ result was built on a foundation of hard work and togetherness, and it highlighted their ability to turn the screw at exactly the right time.

From the start, Vicki Oyesola continued where she left off last weekend, as did the player of the match Sienna Rushton. The former turned over plenty of ball for her team, while Rushton looked incredibly comfortable in Rhinos’ shooting circle.

Rhea Dixon’s productivity at GA was another key factor in the creation of their early three-goal cushion. However, Storm stayed calm and they plugged away, with Yasmin Parsons setting their tempo through court.

A single goal separated the two teams after 12 minutes, and both head coaches decided to stick with their starting line-ups. The result was another goal-for-goal quarter before Storm turned up the heat.

They took full advantage of Alima Priest announcing herself in their defensive end and converted her turnovers well, by finding Karyn Bailey nicely. Storm held a three-goal advantage with seconds remaining of the half, before Rhinos used the final play to scratch one of those goals off.

With the contest poised at 25-23, both head coaches made changes and Mikki Austin decided the time was right for her first appearance of the season.

She put on the centre bib and moved Parsons to WA while Dan Ryan changed his wings; Rosie Harris came on at WD and Amelia Hall at WA.

Neither team line-up took a backward step, but Rhinos were the ones who pressed their foot on the accelerator. They used the third set of the 12 minutes to turn around their deficit and lead 35-32 going into the final quarter.

With the wind in their sails, the combination of Jade Clarke, Hall and Dixon coming to the fore, they closed the contest out well while Storm ran out of time to try and reel their opponents back in.

“We’ve had such a tough week and we’ve had to overcome such adversity,” Rushton said, after their 50-44 victory.

“To come out with that result at the end, we’re just all in such high spirits. We really pushed on from where we were at half-time and that shows the camaraderie and spirit we have in the team.”

Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues at 4pm with three back-to-back matches streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.

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