Netball London Live 2017: Surrey Storm vs. Hertfordshire Mavericks
Surrey Storm secured a commanding 67-45 victory over Hertfordshire Mavericks at the Copper Box Arena.
The defending champions completely outclassed their opponents to record the largest ever winning margin in London Live!
20:45 - And that’s it from London Live 2017!
Well that’s the end of our coverage from the Copper Box Arena – thanks for following!
Victory for Storm was never really in doubt from the off but it was just a case of how many goals they won by.
The defending champions stay top of the Superleague table, but for how long can they continue their unbeaten run?
Mavs appear understandably dejected and deflated after an under-par performance against stellar opposition so how quickly can they pick themselves up and return to winning ways?
Only time will tell…
Until next time, netball family!
20:40 - What next for both teams
It’s a case of more of the same from Storm.
They’ll be determined to maintain their perfect start when they travel to five-time champions Team Bath for Round 5 on Monday 20th March.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the drawing board for Mavs as they tactically, technically and potentially psychologically weren’t up to scratch.
Some serious training time is required, especially to look at link-up and transitioning play as well as on-court combinations, before they face Celtic Dragons in Round 5 on Saturday 18th March.
20:25 - Post-match reaction: Georgia Lees
Storm wing attack Lees understandably delighted with both how the defending champions outclassed their opponents at the Copper Box Arena and their season so far.
Speaking exclusively to Sports Gazette, she said: “I think that’s the best we’ve played as a team.
“I mean we got the majority of our players on the court in such a big event – that’s just absolutely great for us with everyone on the court putting in an effort.
“It’s the fourth game in and we’re still four from four so I think as a confidence boost that’s really good for us.”
Read the full interview here.
20:15 - Post-match reaction: Mikki Austin
Player of the Match Austin delivered a commanding mid-court performance and was thrilled with how the team all pulled together.
She told BBC Sport's Andy Lamb: “To go out there and put a really solid four quarters on the board was what was most impressive for us.
“From our point of view, it was a really tight contest – we always knew it was going to be.”
20:00 - Post-match reaction: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
Drakeford-Lewis made her debut for Mavs at London Live and, despite the result, thought there were plenty of positives for her side to take from their performance.
She told BBC Sport's Andy Lamb: “It was such an amazing experience and I’m so proud to have made my debut here in the Copper Box.
“We had patches of brilliance and patches where we needed to push them.”
The 18-year-old is certainly one to watch for the future!
19:48 - Good head-to-head record extended
Storm officially lead the London Live standings 3-1.
They've now also come out on top in 20 of their 26 meetings in all competitions with Hertfordshire Mavericks.
Mavs have their chance to seek revenge in the inaugural Battle at the Box on 29th April in Round 12 of the Vitality Netball Superleague.
19:38 - One word: emphatic
Having considered a range of adjectives, emphatic is the best to encapsulate Storm's performance.
So will the team be celebrating this evening and if so, how?
According to the club's website, Georgia Lees' party trick is the worm. Is it also her victory dance?!
19:34 - One very happy coach
Storm head coach Tania Hoffman understandably delighted with her side's performance and unable to single out any players for praise.
Having heard so many stories pre-match about the London Live experience, safe to say it lived up to expectations.
She said: "London Live has been absolutely incredible. The crowd were amazing."
19:28 - Changing perceptions
There are a lot of misconceptions about netball.
Contrary to what people may believe, it's fast-paced, feisty and physical - and this was exactly the case this evening.
It's always good then to see people beginning to gain a greater understanding and show more appreciation for such a brilliant sport.
19:25 - Surrey Storm 67-45 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Sensational performance from defending champions Surrey Storm - the largest ever winning margin in London Live!
They may have undergone considerable changes during the off-season but they still look just as impressive and absolutely mean business when it comes to securing the title once again.
19:20 - Surrey Storm 64-43 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Mavs undeniably pleased to see the back of Craig as her work for the day is done and she goes off to rapturous applause.
All about damage limitation now for Mavs, who are set to lose their London Live crown.
Credit to them though as their heads haven't dropped and they continue to battle hard.
19:16 - Surrey Storm 62-39 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Many England players past and present have shone at London Live.
Particularly memorable was Kadeen Corbin almost single-handedly turning the inaugural Copper Box meeting in Herts favour with some superb shooting.
Rachel Dunn, Tamsin Greenway and Pamela Cookey have also starred in the bitter rivalry.
Plenty of young English talents, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of those stars, are on show today.
19:05 - Surrey Storm 52-34 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Mavs' defensive unit struggling against the power and prowess of Craig and co.
Storm's attacking play like clockwork - just two passes required to play the New Zealander in under the posts!
Can the two-time champions get a handle on this in the fourth and produce a stunning comeback or is it already game over?
18:55 - Surrey Storm 39-28 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Storm shooter Craig calling for calmness and composure from her team.
It's a test for her, and attacking partner Harris, to follow such a long-standing and high-quality partnership such as that of Cookey and Dunn but she's once again proving to be a tricky opponent in the circle, standing at two metres tall.
Having come straight off the Silver Ferns’ shooting production line, learning her trade with legends Maria Tutaia and Catherine Tuivaiti, it's scary for opposition teams to think about how much potential she still has at just 23 years old.
18:51 - Surrey Storm 35-26 Hertfordshire Mavericks
No changes for the defending champions at the start of the third quarter.
Mavs have brought on Michelle Drayne and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis with Neal moving to goal attack.
Mid-courter Drayne was part of the winning team at last year's London Live and will be determined to impact the outcome again this time.
18:46 - Next generation of stars take to court
Netball is unquestionably on the rise and continues to inspire up-and-coming youngsters across the country.
The crowd have just been treated to the final of the U11 Netball London Live tournament with Bishopsgate School crowned the winners.
Yet more proof that netball is both the ultimate team sport and available to anyone regardless of age, gender, ability or how much time they can commit.
In contrast to recent media suggestions that netball is ‘uncool’ – yes, looking at you The Guardian – Sports Gazette would like to say that actually ‘The future’s coming up Roses’.
18:35 - Surrey Storm 31-23 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Mavs likely to feel disappointed to trail by eight at the break after undoubtedly dominating the opening stages of the second quarter.
Director of netball Robyn Broughton going to be looking for Mavs to be much more accurate in their passing and clinical in the final third in the third if they are going to get their way back into this.
Not the perfect polished performance from Storm but more of the same in quarters three and four should see them close out this game.
18:29 - Surrey Storm 24-19 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Crowd somewhat subdued at the moment - loud cheers for a Katy Holland interception - before the atmosphere returns to mainly murmuring.
Defending champions Storm have taken their time to get into this quarter but appear to be back up and running now.
Hutchinson once again showing her athleticism and excellent reading of the game to pick off an attempted feed into Neal.
18:25 - Surrey Storm 21-18 Hertfordshire Mavericks
A flying intercept from Artman at the start of the second quarter helping to set Mavs on their way as the gap is closed to just three goals.
Sophie Hankin once again left watching helplessly as the ball comes agonisingly close to dropping in before going behind.
Mavs wing attack Keshia Grant imposing herself more on the game now and combining well with goal attack Ashleigh Neal.
18:18 - Surrey Storm 15-11 Hertfordshire Mavericks
What an opening quarter!
Some slightly rushed play from both sides - perhaps a sign of nerves?
Mikki Austin showing her experience and strength in dictating the play in mid-court, while Georgia Lees has played a number of well-weighted feeds into the circle.
Mavs unlucky at times in attack with the ball circling around the rim and failing to drop in.
Storm captain Hutchinson capitalising well on opposition misses to pick up the ball and start the transition through court.
18:08 - Surrey Storm 12-8 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Goal for goal in the opening stages and both sides guilty of wasting a couple of interceptions.
A great rebound from Katy Holland though helping Storm to establish an initial 8-3 lead but some unforced passing errors mean that Mavs have pegged them back and closed the gap.
Particularly tough test for Mavs goalkeeper Summer Artman up against the imperious Craig.
Those circle balls to Craig are unstoppable!! 6-2 Storm #LondonLive— Surrey Storm (@SurreyStorm) March 11, 2017
18:00 - And we're off!
Storm with the first centre pass and they successfully work the ball through to Megan Craig, who gets the first point of the game on the board.
17:55 - Team news is in!
Good reception for both sides as they came out to warm up earlier with chants of 'Surrey Storm, Surrey Storm' heard loud and clear!
Starting 7s are as follows...
Surrey Storm: GK - Hutchinson (c), GD - Holland, WD - Williams, C - Austin, WA - Lees, GA - Harris, GS - Craig
Hertfordshire Mavericks: GK - Artman, GD - Keable, WD - Everitt, C - Morgan-Smith, WA - Grant, GA - Hankin, GS - Joseph (c)
Just five minutes to go until the first centre pass!
17:40 - Pre-match entertainment always divisive
Some people love it, some people hate it.
Have to admit though that Shake Dance were pretty decent - cool outfits, funky music and some awesome tricks.
Hopefully they'll get to perform again at half-time when the arena is packed out so more people get to see just how good they are.
The winning team on court will need to be just as slick and in sync as these young dancers!
Also, shout-out to the two hosts - David Wooldridge and Kelly Somers - both charismatic and incredibly enthusiastic doing their best to get the fans who are here so far going - never an easy gig.
17:25 - Crowds slowly starting to filter in
Storm and Mavs fans are beginning to arrive at the iconic Copper Box Arena.
Crowds for London Live have grown year on year with 6332 fans turning out to support their teams in 2016.
Rumour has it a small number of tickets are still available on the door... Will last year's record attendance be broken?
Don't worry if you can't make it to the Olympic Park though as the game is live on Sky Sports Mix, which is available to all Sky customers, and Sports Gazette will of course bring you live updates.
17:10 - Hertfordshire Mavericks' season so far
Mavs have had a tricky start to the competition in 2017.
After an opening round victory over Team Northumbria (53-48), they've suffered back-to-back defeats to Team Bath (42-49) and Wasps (47-51).
They've never finished outside the top four since the inaugural 2006 season and currently lie in sixth.
But it's still early days and with New Zealand icon Robyn Broughton at the helm, as well as a good mixture of youth and experience in the squad, there's no reason for any panic to be setting in.
16:55 - Surrey Storm's season so far
Surrey Storm remain on course for a third consecutive title after a perfect start.
The defending champions are unbeaten having seen off the challenges posed by Severn Stars (58-40), Manchester Thunder (58-48) and Team Northumbria (63-46).
Ahead of the campaign Mikki Austin said that the team would aim for top four at the start of the season. She added though that she believed they would ultimately be capable of challenging to be crowned champions once again.
Despite being a new-look outfit following a significant number of high-profile departures, it most certainly looks like they'll be in the running from their strong performances to date.
16:38 - Hertfordshire Mavericks' Lindsay Keable says the bigger the stage, the better for netball
The Copper Box is an iconic venue and has played host to London Live for the past three seasons with crowds increasing year on year.
Lindsay Keable is delighted with the sport's development during that time and is thrilled to be able to take to the court at the Olympic Park once again.
Speaking to Sky Sports, she said: "It is one of those things that you can't quite believe the scale of what you are doing and there is a buzz that you can't replicate anywhere else.
"As much as there is a rivalry between us and Surrey Storm, people are there to see great netball and it's a great opportunity for fans to see and speak to players - it's a great occasion."
16:25 - Surrey Storm head coach ready for first London Live experience
Surrey Storm head coach Tania Hoffman can't wait to take charge of the defending champions at the Olympic Park for the first time.
Hoffman joined Storm at the end of 2016 and is excited to experience the atmosphere at London's Copper Box.
She told Sky Sports: "I'm looking forward to the game and looking forward to experiencing the Copper Box.
"I believe it's a testing atmosphere and the girls are really looking forward to it and quite a few of them have experienced it before, so there will be a lot of hype."
Hoffman will also come up against a familiar face in the form of Mavericks assistant coach Kat Ratnapala, who she knows from time spent in the ANZ Championship.
But London Live isn't anything new to former Surrey Storm coach Ratnapala.
16:12 - Netball London Live History
Netball London Live was set up in 2014 so Saturday evening’s match sees the two sides meet at the Copper Box Arena for the fourth time.
Surrey Storm currently lead the head-to-head record 2-1 but Mavericks are determined to defend their London Live crown after winning last year.
16:00 Good evening from the Copper Box Arena!
That’s right it’s that time of year again… London Live!
Sports Gazette are courtside at the Copper Box Arena as Surrey Storm and Hertfordshire Mavericks are set to go head-to-head in the biggest domestic netball match in the UK.
Stay tuned for pre- and post-match interviews, live action, stats and analysis!
First centre pass is at 6pm.