Manchester Thunder secured a place in the Netball Superleague semi-finals with back-to-back wins, leaving four teams vying for the final spot.
Thunder beat Severn Stars 55-43 and Surrey Storm 57-41 to join Bath and Loughborough Lightning in progressing.
Wasps remain fourth after their 41-37 loss to Saracens Mavericks.
But seventh-placed Mavericks have two games in hand and the other top four contenders, Leeds Rhinos and Strathclyde Sirens, each have one.
Sirens lost 48-37 to Bath in their first match of the weekend, but had moved up to fifth in the table when they beat Mavericks 41-35.
But Rhinos returned to form with a 49-39 win over Storm to reclaim fifth spot, after losing 59-51 to Lightning, who also beat Celtic Dragons 59-35 this weekend.
On Friday, Bath began their weekend with a 45-32 victory over Severn Stars, and London Pulse inflicted a 52-30 defeat on Dragons, who remain bottom, to secure their fourth win of the season.
Game of the week – Saracens Mavericks 41-37 Wasps
After losing to a composed Sirens, and given how tight the scrap for a top-four place is, both the wounded Mavericks and Wasps must have viewed their meeting as a ‘must-win’.
Mavericks head coach Kat Ratnapala had previously blamed a lack of consistency for their league position but her side produced a stellar final-quarter comeback to secure a hard-fought victory – their first ever – over the two-time champions.
Wasps were leading 24-20 at half-time but, not for the first time this season, were unable to hold onto their lead and made costly mistakes as Mavericks rallied.
A crucial interception from England international Jodie Gibson, in only her second full match this season, turned the tide for Mavericks with 15 seconds left of the third quarter, and they went on to score 13 goals in the last quarter to Wasps’ five.
Ratnapala praised her side for their determination, while her Wasps counterpart Mel Mansfield said her team were “maybe just simply not good enough” after a “painful” loss which she called a “reflection of our season”.
Top-four going to the wire
That result leaves the race for the final semi-final spot wide open, with fourth to seventh place separated by only four points, and with one point splitting each team.
Rhinos and Sirens each have two games remaining while Wasps have one and Mavericks have three.
Rhinos have the easier run-in on paper, with games against Pulse and Dragons – but both of those games take place on the final weekend of the season, giving the sides around them the opportunity to pile some pressure on before then.
Wasps head coach Mansfield said her side had “probably put ourselves out of contention” with their loss to Mavericks.
They face Storm in their final game, along with the prospect of missing out on the semi-finals for the first time since they joined Superleague in 2016.
Sirens face Dragons and defending champions Thunder in their next two games, while Mavericks take on Bath – they are the only side to have beaten the league-leaders this season – Pulse and Storm knowing their destiny is in their own hands.
The Superleague will return, after a bye week, on Sunday, 13 June.
Results & fixtures
Round 17 & 18
Friday, 28 May
Celtic Dragons 30-52 London Pulse
Severn Stars 32-45 Team Bath
Saturday, 29 May
Loughborough Lightning 59-35 Celtic Dragons
Manchester Thunder 55-43 Severn Stars
Strathclyde Sirens 37-48 Team Bath
Sunday, 30 May
Loughborough Lightning 59-51 Leeds Rhinos
Saracens Mavericks 35-41 Strathclyde Sirens
Manchester Thunder 57-41 Surrey Storm
Monday, 31 May
Leeds Rhinos 49-39 Surrey Storm
Saracens Mavericks 41-37 Wasps