Match Preview: Manchester Thunder v Team Bath
Thunder have started the season as they left off, beating Surrey Storm in a feisty encounter in a repeat of last year’s dramatic Superleague final victory in Worcester. The Black and Yellows triumphed 55-52 at the Thunderdome, with Aussie import Chelsea Pitman starring on her debut, winning the player of the match award.
The Black and Yellows next face Team Bath in Gorton tomorrow. Bath, who finished fourth last season, have lost inspirational shooter Pamela Cookey to rivals Surrey Storm but have strengthened with New Zealand star Bessie Manu and a number of England players, notably defender Stacey Francis.
Thunder won the last clash between the sides in the Superleague semi final 43-37. The defending champions’ toughest possible start to the season continues with last year’s third-placed Hertfordshire Mavericks visiting Manchester just two days later, on Monday.
Captain Sara Bayman said of this week's double-header and how the team has prepared: "Training has been going well and it’s good to have the different coaching styles and personalities of Tracey, Sara and Karen.
"Thunder’s game is no-nonsense and to the point and that philosophy runs right through the franchise. I think it’s a northern thing.
"A lot of the work has been analyzing both our game and upcoming opponents’. It’s important that we have a clear vision of what we want to do against teams and the video really highlights what has worked and what hasn’t.
"The next few weeks are huge for us and everyone is really keen to get momentum at the beginning of the season. It is nice to have a few home games and enjoy the crowd support."