Match Report – Jets 35 vs Thunder 49

Despite a sluggish start, Thunder saw off their Yorkshire rivals in a pre-season friendly in Huddersfield.

It was the first competitive outing against a Superleague team for Thunder since they were crowned champions back in April and their lack-of match sharpness was clear in the opening exchanges.

Jets pounced on Thunder’s hesitancy and could not have started with a more opposing intensity.

With the home crowd cheering them on, Jets stretched to a 13-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Coach Tracey Neville had some stern words for her players and rang the changes, with Gabby Marshall coming on at wing defence to replace Ellie Cardwell and Beth Cobden switched to wing attack .

With Thunder still searching for passes that weren’t there, Jets extended their lead further.

Buoyed by influential player-of-the-match Natalie Haythornthwaite, the Jets were playing with flair and confidence.

But they failed to build on their 10-goal cushion and Thunder started to find their rhythm through the centre court.

A hand injury in the second forced Krista Enziano off, with Cardwell taking her place at goal shooter.

The teenage shooter made an instant impact and her superb mid-air interception sparked a period of Thunder dominance.

The black and yellows scored seven without reply and the Jets were rattled.

Jets finally halted Thunder’s dominance but the score was close at 18-16.

Kathryn Turner and Cardwell began to link well in and around the circle alongside feeders Laura Malcolm and Beth Cobden

A precise feed from Turner gifts Cardwell an easy shot under the post and she converts to put Thunder in the lead at half time, 21-23.

It’s almost unbelievable to think Cardwell played in defence in the 2012 Superleague final with her transition to shooter appearing so effortless.

Thunder NPL players Paige Kindred and Beccy Hoult came on for Georgie Webster and Beth Cobden for the third.

Jets scored three on the bounce after the break but Thunder soon recaptured their magic.

Experienced Kerry Almond at keeper produced some strong distribution on the balance from a difficult intercept.

The game became scrappy, with only three goals scored in a physical 10-minute period.

Enziano was fit enough to return to court for the final quarter, with Ellie Cardwell shifting to goal attack.

Cobden swapped position with Malcolm and Webster returned to the fray to continue her solid defensive work alongside Almond.

Cobden was right at home at centre, battling well with Jets counterpart Claire Brown.

An athletic intercept from Marshall gave Thunder the final say in the match, as they closed out the win 35-49.

It wasn’t vintage from the champions, with some patch play but when they hit their rhythm, they were impossible to stop.

Starting 7: GS Enziano GA Turner WA Cardwell C Malcolm WD Cobden GD Webster GK Almond Bench Hoult, Kindred, Marshall

Denise Evans