Thunder 48 vs Storm 55
Surrey storm to victory with little rumble from Thunder
Manchester Thunder didn’t get the start to The Zeo Netball Superlegaue that they want going down by a seven goal deficit to Surrey Storm.
The home side started slowly with some unforced errors handing an early lead to Storm. Toward the end of the quarter Thunder found another gear and managed to pull back to 11-12 at the first quarter break.
With the ball reaching Storm shooter Rachel Dunn all to easily, head coach Tracey Neville changed her defence early with Jodie Gibson coming on at goal keeper and Sara Hale moving up to goal defence replacing Emma Dovey.
The second quarter was particularly scrappy with both teams struggling to find any rhythm but it also set the tone for the rest of the game with Storm pulling away with Thunder on the catch up.
As the quarter went on captain Sara Bayman started to combine well with Beth Cobden to feed shooters Krista Enziano and Helen Housby and Thunder were starting to form but missing seven shots in the second quarter prevented them from building a lead by half time. However, they still managed to edge ahead to lead by one at half time 25-24.
At half time Neville chose to give Australian import Alix McDermott her debut at goal attack with Housby moving upto goal shooter. While in the Storm camp player/coach Tamsin Greenway made a key change moving herself from wing attack to goal attack, introducing Georgia Lees to centre. Having been kept fairly quiet in the first half, due to the close attention of Thunder wing defence Laura Malcolm, Greenway revelled in more freedom and found shooter Dunn an easy target with little pressure from the defence. Storm were on a roll and took the quarter 18-10, giving them a seven goal (42-35).
Neville rang the changes for the final quarter, Georgie Webster coming on at goal defence, Hale moving back to goal keeper. Rachel Henry was introduced at wing attack and Alice Travis at goal shooter. Housby moved back to goal attack replacing McDermott who looked rusty in her first match action in several months. The changes had an instant impact, with Thunder starting to move the ball around and showing a renewed hunger for the ball. But just as they crept back into contention within three goals, a couple of questionable calls from the officials at crucial times halted their momentum. Thunder’s challenge gradually fell away despite a noisy home crowd trying to cheer them home.
Greenway was instrumental in guiding Storm to the finish line and victory, she pulled the strings and ran the show under no pressure from the Thunder defence. Storm took the victory 55-48 along with the bragging rights but Thunder perhaps could go away with the knowledge that if they shut down Greenway they could turn the tables in the return fixture.
Team: GK Sara Hale GD Emma Dovey WD Laura Malcolm C Sara Bayman WA Beth Cobden GA Helen Housby, GS Alice Travis
Bench: Jodie Gibson, Rachel Henry, Alix McDermott, Alice Travis, Georgie Webster
Thunder’s next game is this Friday away to Team Bath, you can watch it LIVE on Sky Sports at 7.30pm