T&T’s Samantha Wallace scored 38 goals and was voted as the “Player of the Match” as she had a stellar debut performance to lead two-time champions, Hertfordshire Mavericks to a resounding 60-39 defeat of Celtic Dragons in the curtain raiser of the 2016 Vitality National Super Netball League at the Genting Arena, Birmingham, England, yesterday.
The clash, the first of four at the venue as part of Super Saturday to launch the new term in front of just shy of 8,000 fans, saw a new-look Mavericks side take to the court with head coach Sam Bird handing competitive debuts to imports, New Zealander Joline Johansson and T&T’s 22-year-old Wallace.
Despite a slow nervy start from both sides it didn’t take long for Mavericks to get into their stride, with Johansson and Wallace instrumental.
A standout for T&T on debut at last year’s 14th Netball World Cup in Sydney, Australia where she led the national team attack with 280 goals from 324 attempts in eight matches en route to a ninth placed finish, the six-foot plus shooter, who shot 92.68 per cent for the match was found time after time in the shooting circle and she had 10 goals by the end of the first quarter for the Mavericks to lead 16-5.
The second period was a similar story with Lindsay Keable and captain Layla Guscoth showing great defensive alertness at the back which allowed Sam May, former World Cup winner Johansson and Sophie Carter to feed Wallace and Hankin as they moved 32-13 ahead with the T&T starlet, the more dominant player through her athleticism.
The third quarter saw Bird introduce her highly rated youngster George Fisher, named a reserve for the recent England and Australia test series, for Hankin for her Super League debut.
The young Fisher soon registered her first senior goal, and although the scoring slowed down somewhat with both teams going point for point, 12-12, the Mavericks took a 44-25 advantage into the third period break with Wallace in control and the team went on to secure victory.