Sam's Blog #1
After two weeks on the road it seemed like forever since we had played at our home venue, The Thunderdome. The team was all set for our Monday night Sky TV game vs Hertfordshire Mavericks, and an important game it was. A victory would practically ensure the winning team a place in the top tier of the NSL draw; a loss would place the losers in fear of relegation to tier two. Needless to say everyone at Manchester Thunder was hungry for a win on our home turf.
Adding to the occasion we were all excited to play in our brand new pink kit to help raise awareness for breast cancer and raise much needed funds for Cancer Research. The girls looked good and were feeling great about the game. The crowd was building and even though our team was missing the experience of Sara Bayman & Janelle Lawson, which funnily enough made me the oldest Thunder player named (at the tender young age of 25), the expectations of the group were high.
The NTL girls added to their winning streak and cemented their place on the top of the ladder, displaying their depth as once again they were left without the likes of Georgie Webster, Helen Housby and Gabrielle Marshall who were all selected to play NSL.
Back in the changing rooms the NSL girls were having some fun singing and dancing to iconic 90’s songs, such as Mambo N°5. A special mention must go to Emma Dovey for her music selection and to Laura Malcom for rocking some entertaining dance moves. Once it hits 7pm though, it’s match prep time. With a focus on ‘enjoying’ the game, Tracey addressed the girls and named the starting seven. Krista Enziano and Kathryn Turner in the shooting circle, Rachel Henry, Laura Malcolm and Beth Cobden in the mid court, and Emma Dovey and Eleanor Cardwell in the defence circle. We had a good warm up and once again won the toss to enable us first possession of the match.
The crowd was right behind us from the start. We got an early lead, which was pegged back by the end of quarter 1. Annoyingly this seems to be a little habit of ours this season. After a tight 2nd quarter we came into half time with a 1 goal lead. Tracey made one change, introducing myself to GK, and instructed the girls that it was all up to us and how much we wanted it. Devastatingly, after a hard fought second half, we were on the wrong side of a very exciting score line. We lost 46-45 in the last minute of the game. The girls and I were absolutely gutted, especially because we could hear how much the crowd, our bench players and the Manchester Thunder support staff wanted the win for us. The fairy tale finish didn’t eventuate, but we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd to play in front of and we really hope to see you back at The Thunderdome again.
Looking forward to our next game we head to Newcastle on Saturday to play against my old team, Team Northumbria. Personally I’m quite excited to play against some good friends and in front of the Sports Central crowd. Fingers crossed there isn’t any hard feelings for my swapping teams this season and hopefully I can even get some support from the away crowd during the match (although this might be asking a little too much). We desperately need the win to give us any chance of making the cut for Tier 1 but ultimately we are just looking to put out a strong performance and get that winning feeling back. The rest will take care of itself.