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Round 17: Strathclyde Sirens put on a thrilling show against Wasps Netball at their final home match of the 2019 season

28th April 2019

Defensive star Hayley Mulheron saluted the devoted Strathclyde Sirens fanbase after a loss to league leaders Wasps in this season’s final home game.

The side from the Midlands came to Glasgow with the second-highest points scored in the league but were held to only 11 points in a competitive first quarter.

Despite the scoreline Strathclyde Sirens put in an impressive performance, more than matching the Grand Final-bound Wasps for a large portion of the game.

But Mulheron took time to instead hail another big crowd at the Emirates Arena for the last time this campaign.

She said: “Wasps are a top side with class players so it was definitely a performance today we could be proud of.

“I’d like to thank the fans that have been amazing, it’s a shame we’ve not given them all the winning results we wanted to this year.

“But they’ve been back through thick and thin every week and we honestly applaud them.

“Thank you so much for your support.”

Q1: The league leaders started the game strongly with a clear plan of staying patient and not forcing an opening. They scored twice to kick things off, but Lynsey Gallagher hit back with two goals, the second coming after a footwork mistake from Jade Clarke. Gia Abernethy pulled off a flying steal in mid-court and two passes later Emma Barrie had it in front of goal to score her first. Wasps kept up their attacking intent though and Rachel Dunn in goal shooter was presented with plenty of chances as they stroked the ball across court. With just a two-point deficit at the end of the first period it was clear early on the table-toppers were in for a tough evening. 9-11

Q2: Gallagher hit three early goals to reduce Wasps’ lead to just one before Barrie found an opening to level the scoring. But the away side hit back as goal attack Katie Harris shared some of the scoring responsibilities with a beautiful floated shot. Despite Wasps carrying the mantle of the league’s second-highest scorers, the Glasgow girls were able to match their opponents goal-for-goal and Barrie again levelled with five minutes until half-time. But a couple of defensive lapses presented more chances for Dunn as her and goal keeper Mulheron battled in front of the post. Some smart attacking play extended their lead as Dunn beat the buzzer but it was an encouraging first half from Sirens against a side harbouring league title ambitions for next month. HALF-TIME: 21-27

Q3: Two defensive stops in a row allowed Barrie to start the second half with a couple of goals but not before Claire Maxwell was barged into the advertising boards while going for a loose ball. Bongi Msomi in wing attack for the Wasps became a threat as she used her considerable passing range to find the shooting pairing of Dunn and Harris. Emily Nicholl reminded them of what the Sirens defence were capable of though, as she pulled off an incredible block on Msomi. But for the most part the Wasps were motoring and they opened up a double-digit lead mid-way through the period. 21-42

Q4: On for the final quarter, Bethan Goodwin wasted no time in fighting back for the Sirens as two quick goals ate into Wasps’ lead. But the away side managed to wrestle the ball back from a Sirens centre pass and then scored from two of their own to surge further ahead. Msomi again showed off her passing capabilities with a series of excellent arcing passes for Dunn to convert. Then from the edge of the circle Harris found the target under pressure. It was perhaps a sign of how much energy the Glaswegians had put into the first three quarters that they struggled to keep it up as the final quarter wound down. But Nicholl showed some defensive hustle as she hit the wood to force the ball out of play under her own goal. Then Abernethy stole it in the corner and hurled the ball up court for it to be converted. It was a strong finish which was appreciated by a raucous home crowd.

FINAL: 41-56

Strathclyde Sirens Starting Seven: GS Barrie, GA Gallagher, WA McCleery, C Abernethy, WD Maxwell, GD Nicholl, GK Mulheron.

Written by Steven Mair, @smair47