Rachel Dunn starred for Wasps Netball in her 200th Superleague appearance as they sealed a 61-50 win against London Pulse in their first-ever meeting.
Mel Mansfield’s Wasps team trailed early but fought back and pulled away from their hosts in the third quarter, securing back-to-back victories to start their 2019 campaign.
“Rachel Dunn was as steady as anything on her 200th game and it was great to see Bongi Msomi back out there in Wasps colours too,” Mansfield said.
200 not out… pic.twitter.com/umLtY72bu9
“We made a lot of errors today and I think we need to consider about how and where we can win the ball back. That will be our focus in training ahead of playing Surrey Storm next weekend.”
Dunn opened the scoring for Wasps as both teams were in offensive rhythm throughout the opening stages, trading goal-for-goal.
South Africa captain Msomi, making her first appearance of the season, starred throughout the first quarter and showed why Wasps had brought her back following a season away from the team.
Pulse showed defensive resolve, with goalkeeper Honor De Winton impressing and troubling the visiting shooters, and through consistent success with long balls to goal shooter Shantal Slater led by two goals at the end of the first quarter.
Katie Harris starred to pull Wasps back level within minutes of the restart, backed up by a series of impressive defensive plays from Hannah Knights and Fran Williams.
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Wasps took advantage of successive loose passes from Pulse to lead by three goals at half-time, with Dunn’s battle with England teammate Ama Agbeze taking centre stage.
Katie Harris and Dunn combined well as Wasps took control of the game, building a double-digit advantage going into the final quarter.
Pulse rallied early in the final quarter but Dunn continued to improve her tally to keep her side in the lead as Wasps, who gave a debut to Chloe Essam in the closing stages.
Manchester Thunder also maintained their perfect start to the season on Saturday in their first home outing as they outplayed Strathclyde Sirens to win 70-45.
Great team performance against tough opposition tonight!!! Our first home game of the season and our supporters were ?????? Let’s keep this momentum goin ??#ThunderFamily?? #ThunderRollin pic.twitter.com/85Zz8wVjuN
Thunder were dominant from start to finish, with Caroline O’Hanlon, named player of the match by Tracey Neville, who was in attendance at Belle Vue, and Laura Malcolm combining well to help the hosts take the lead from an early stage.
Sirens struggled to get into the game during the first half and, despite the efforts of Gia Abernethy and Claire Maxwell, they were unable to find an opening to release Cat Tuivaiti.
New Zealand international shooter Tuivati produced moments of brilliance, including a trademark over the head pass, but hopes of a Sirens fightback faded when she was taken off with a knock to the knee.
Thunder head coach Karen Greig was able to trial some new combinations as the match progressed, including playing Ellie Cardwell, under the watchful eyes of England coach Neville, at goal attack and goal shooter.
Thunder will aim to pick up a third win so far this season when they host Pulse, live on Sky Sports on Monday, February 4.
Watch Surrey Storm meet Team Bath in the Vitality Netball Superleague, live on Sky Sports Mix, Arena, and Main Event from 6.45pm on Monday. Also, Sky Sports will be showing every game of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup in July.
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