Thunder Return to Winning Ways...
Thunder 72 vs Lightning 40
A united and rallied crowd fled into the Thunder dome on Saturday evening hoping to see their team continue in their good form following a heart-breaking defeat to Team Bath last week. This time it was the team from Loughborough who were coming on a hard fought loss against Surrey Storm in the back pockets and some of their own injury problems.
The home side have had a tough week following disappointing news of their Captain Sara Bayman’s reoccurring knee niggle putting her out of competition until possibly Phase two of the super league competition. We all wish Sara a speedy recovery back to the Thunderdome.
The start of the game went with no hiccups or surprise fire drills for each team, instead a packed house ready to roar for their side. Thunder got the first centre and goal and Lightning instantly responded.
It was a slippery start for shooter Janelle Lawson who was having some issues staying upright but it didn’t affect her sides shooting or her smile as they took an early lead with Lightning struggling to get the ball in to the circle. Captain Candappa eventually found the feed into the circle but her shooters where failing to take advantage and It was Cardwell and Dovey who picked up the attempts. The Manchester side quickly took control of the game commanding a lead from the offset with highlight moments from both attack and defence to show Loughborough whose house they were in and why they look to retain the title At the end of the quarter following too many errors for Lightning, Thunder had the lead 21-9.
The second quarter was another strong start for Thunder; Coach Tracey Neville gave young Georgie Webster a run at GD, while captain Dovey moved back into GK. Lightning moved their captain Candappa into WA, and gave Fran Desmond the Centre bib. It wasn’t enough to stop Thunders freight train of goals as they extended their lead 25-9. It wasn’t a smooth ride with both shooters not netting their first attempts but fortunately gaining the later rebound.
The Lightning Defence of Massey and Forbes-Wattley started to cause some trouble for Thunders centre court. The passing from Thunder was smooth and consistent with many crowd pleasing moments that deserved instant replay status.
The goals kept on coming from Enziano and Lawson who had formed a brilliant partnership to bring the score at the end of the second, 38-16.
Lightning came alive in the third quarter with a boisterous away crowd cheering their every move; they started to break down Thunders attack and score some spectacular goal of their own. The game still leaned very much in Thunders favour who had reshuffled at half time to bring young Alice Travis on at Goal shooter and leading shooter Kathryn Turner to WA. The run of luck soon ran out for Lightning who started to fall behind Thunders dominance once more. Travis was beginning to grow in confidence and Webster had started to work stronger with Dovey in the circle. Lightning coach also rearranged her team and took off Vice-captain Lauren Steadman and Jodie Gibson who both had played outstanding games against Surrey. At the end of the third it was certain to be Thunders day with a lead of 53-28.
The final quarter was another reshuffle with Gabby Marshall gaining her debut hitting the court at centre, Coach Neville used this match to demonstrate why her team has the depth required to win matches without their ‘big timer’ Sara Bayman. The score line continued to escalate with some sweet moments of play from Lightning who had brought Gibson back on at WD to cause some damage in centre court. This quarter was all about turnovers with plenty jaw dropping touches from both sides. With 5 minutes to go Loughborough started to press down on the accelerator but it was too late as Thunder continued to edge away. A disappointing match for Loughborough who only really came alive in the second half of the game, Coach Neville can come away from the game with nearly every player having some valuable game time including a lot of the young up and coming stars. The end score was 72-40, with a tough away game against Celtic Dragons in a weeks’ time, Coach Tracey Neville will be looking to use training wisely to prepare for Melissa Hyndman’s side who could cause a further upset to Thunders season.
Thunders starting line up: Enziano, Lawson, Henry, Malcolm, Cobden, Dovey, Cardwell. Bench: Marshall, Holt, Webster, Turner, Travis.
Photographs courtesy of Frank Cressey http://www.brightiphotography.com/