As the new format FIAT Netball Superleague completes the first stage the league has been split into 2 halves for the second phase. This promises to create a closer competition in the later stages and prevent gaps getting too wide within the league, but also gives lower half teams a chance (though fairly slim) of making the finals. Here we look at the top four and their hopes for the final stages…
It is no surprise to see thunder in the final section as they continue their near faultless season. They began by winning the Fastnet tournament in January then completed seven straight wins on route to topping the superleague table.
Notable wins include a 67-48 win over Surrey Storm and a whopping 71-35 win over Team Northumbria. Thunder are unquestionably favourites and have yet to be tested by other sides, but there is still a long way to go as they seek their first ever championship.
The Mavericks had an up and down early stage, gaining a 2 point win over Team Bath and losing to Celtic Dragons, they comfortably qualified for the top tier with 4 wins but go in as third favourites behind the two sides that beat them already this season.
Mavericks will need to cause some major upsets in the later rounds to claim a third title but have recorded many close games that could go in their favour at this stage.
Surrey Storm are another side looking for their first title now under coach Tamsin Greenway. They have beaten many top sides this season including a convincing opening day win over Herfordshire Mavericks, and will likely face Thunder in the final if the form guide is anything to go by.
Surrey won the southern conference in the Fastnet tournament and will feel they can overcome Thunder in the latter rounds.
Team Bath are the side with best history but go into the top tier as outsiders. They crept into the finals on goal difference after a 4 point win over Yorkshire Jets and now face a challenge to avoid finishing bottom of the group.
The 4 time champions are guaranteed a spot in the finals and will need to focus on that stage to turn results in their favour, potentially upsetting the pattern of results so far this season.
Best of luck to all sides involved – including the bottom four competing for a one shot playoff game – and lets hope for an exciting finale to this radical new season.
Fixtures begin March 16th.