Team Bath in Vitality Superleague semi-finals after Sirens beat benecos Mavericks

UWS Sirens ended benecos Mavericks’ hopes of a place in the Vitality Superleague semi-finals with a 49-47 victory that seals Team Bath’s place in the top four.

Mavericks headed north of the border knowing they had to win to draw level on points with fourth-placed Bath and fell short despite a fierce effort.

A third game since Saturday for Mavericks was a tough schedule and a third defeat meant they were unable to overturn the gap on Bath who complete the final four line-up.

They join Wasps, Loughborough Lightning and Manchester Thunder in the last four – a repeat of the four teams that played out last season’s semi-finals.

Bath will travel to the University of Worcester to face Wasps, barring a highly improbable goal difference turnaround while Thunder will face Lightning with just the venue to be determined – whoever claims second spot will get home advantage

Vitality Superleague – Latest standings P Pts GD GS (1) Wasps 17 42 +287 1061 (2) Loughborough Lightning 17 42 +181 991 (3) Manchester Thunder 17 42 +160 1002 (4) Team Bath 17 33 +80 875 (5) benecos Mavericks 18 30 +67 932

Thursday night’s action was played in front of a Glasgow crowd dressed for summer as Sirens brought the curtain down on their season with a beach party theme.

And there was little between the teams with the start of the first quarter evenly split.

With more at stake for Mavs, they began to go through the gears to open up the first gap of the evening – Karyn Bailey helping them to a three-goal lead.

However, the hosts stuck to their task and forced the turnover that meant there was just a single goal in it after the first 15 minutes.

The second quarter was a similar story, Mavericks starting fast after a couple of Sirens errors and building a 23-18 lead.

Roared on by the home crowd, Sirens rallied in the closing moments turning a six-goal deficit into just one as Mavs led 25-24 at half-time.

Sirens continued to build on their strong second quarter and bounced back from an early two-goal blast from Mavericks to lead for the first time time since the opening 15 minutes.

Shantal Slater put the hosts in front at 30-29 and then helped to build a lead through some great combination play with Lynsey Gallagher.

Steady play from the hosts ensured Sirens led 39-35 ahead of a season-defining final quarter.

With the teams trading early goals, it needed a burst from Mavericks and they delivered, closing to within two after their first dominant spell since the second quarter.

Bailey made no mistake under the posts to level at 42-42 with eight minutes remaining, only for Sirens to push on a reestablish a two-goal lead, before Mavericks came back to level again at 45-45.

Gallagher and Slater combined again for Sirens to forge a two-goal lead that proved crucial with under two minutes remaining and despite a determined Mavs effort they were to fall just short.

Vitality Superleague – Round 18 fixtures Thursday UWS Sirens 49-47 benecos Mavericks Saturday Manchester Thunder v Team Bath Team Northumbria v Wasps Surrey Storm v Loughborough Lightning Severn Stars v Celtic Dragons

The Vitality Superleague regular season reaches its conclusion next weekend and our live coverage comes from the Copper Box where Surrey Storm host Loughborough Lightning, coverage underway from 6.45pm on Sky Sports Mix.

It’s then all eyes on the semi-finals and Grand Final as the 2018 campaign reaches its dramatic conclusion over the following two weeks, all on Sky Sports Mix, channel 121, which is free for all Sky customers.

You can now receive all the latest Vitality Superleague news and more on your personal devices. The Sky Sports mobile app will keep you up to date with the latest news from your favourite sports, including netball – here’s how to receive the alerts you want.