Our Netball Nation Co-Hosts Sara Bayman and Maggie Birkinshaw spoke about Team Bath's performance against Saracens Mavericks on this week's episode of Netball Nation.
Saracens Mavericks hosted Team Bath in the Sky Sports game last weekend, and the home side ran away with a 68-45 victory in round six Vitality Netball Superleague.
Team Bath were missing key players in Eboni Usoro-Brown and Serena Guthrie due to injury, and Sara and Maggie discussed how this impacted Saturday's game.
Sara: "With Serena and Eboni being out, I thought it was a really poor performance from Bath. I totally acknowledge they are both world class players, but I’d still expect better from Bath.
They’ve not had Eboni for a few weeks, and they’ve managed to do well without her, meaning their only extra loss there is Serena. She does make a massive impact on that team, but her replacement, Mia Ritchie, has been the starting centre at Bath for the past five or six years, so it’s not like you’ve got a youngster or someone who’s not used to that level of competition coming in.
I think what they have to look at is how they mentally responded to Serena not being there, because she is a leader and the central focal point of that team, so if she’s not there you need everyone else to step up - and I don’t think anyone did that for Bath, which will be disappointing for them."
Maggie: "I think we look to leaders on the court, and I think every team has one, two or maybe three leaders across all their positions, and there is no doubt about it – both the players from Bath we’re talking about are the natural leaders on the court.
I thought it was interesting of Bath to give Imogen Allison the captain’s band. She’s exceptionally young, and has lots of experience, but still very young and I think she struggled to do her own job because she was having to think about everything else that was going on.
As far as their bench goes, they’ve lots of quality across that bench, so the fact that they’ve lost two big players, didn’t really put them at that much of a disadvantage as they’ve got plenty left on their bench to come on."
Sara: It was interesting, as I think Tamsin Greenway put an article out saying that she thinks of the big four teams, Bath have probably got the weakest bench – and I’d quite like to see Bath prove her wrong this week against Wasps, and come out firing.
They also need those players who don’t always get the opportunity when Serena and Eboni are around to actually say “you know what, we can do this and I want that position!”
Who cares if she’s Serena Guthrie, if you’re the next centre up, you still want to fight her for that position.”
You can hear the full discussion by downloading episode seven of the Netball Nation podcast here.
Team Bath will be hoping to respond well in their next game against the only unbeaten side left in the Vitality Superleague, Wasps.
Saracens Mavericks will be hoping to build from their big win as they host London Pulse in round seven on Monday evening.
By Kate Lightfoot