Thunder slip to 12 goal defeat at the Thunderdome

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Manchester Thunder slipped to a 12-goal defeat to Team Bath on an emotionally-charged night at the Thunderdome.

The match marked a week since the terror attack at Manchester Arena which killed 22 and injured scores of others. Players, who all wore black armbands, joined staff, volunteers and fans to pay tribute to those affected by the blast, with a poignant and impeccably observed one-minute’s silence. Following the touching tributes, attention moved to the action on court, with the Sky Sports cameras looking on.

Team Bath started with real intent, knowing they had to win this game to put themselves in the driving seat to qualify for the Final Four. Their defence was brutal in suffocating Thunder’s attack and punished an unusually hesitant home side.  Thunder never really recovered from that sucker-punch of an opening quarter and although valiant in their efforts to close the gap, a stubborn Bath stood firm. 


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Coach Karen Greig lambasted her side’s sluggish start on a difficult night at the Thunderdome.  “It was frustrating, we just can’t start games like that,” she said. “We had to make sure we didn’t concede any more off the back of it and we didn’t so that’s a positive. It’s possible the emotion got to us tonight but we’ve had good preparation and the girls just ultimately didn’t make the right decisions,” Greig added: “My players didn’t get the right protection out there tonight and when you’re getting hit as you try and take ball, it’s always going to be a tough battle. When your team is getting pinged for everything in one circle and then they’re (Bath) getting away with murder in the other, it’s really frustrating.”

The events of the previous week seemed to be playing on the minds of the Thunder players as they started slowly and lacked concentration, falling 12 goals behind in the opening quarter (7-19). It proved to be their downfall as they huffed and puffed but were unable to break down a resolute – and physical – Team Bath defence.

The Black and Yellows did match their opposition for the rest of the game in terms of scoring, but Bath’s defensive tactics frustrated them throughout and despite winning turnovers, Thunder found themselves unable to consolidate them.


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On a disappointing night with a number of missed opportunities, Liana Leota, who played at both wing attack and centre in this game, was once again a shining light and deserved her Player of the Match award.

Other positives came from shooter Joyce Mvula who refused to be bullied by the imposing duo of Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Layla Guscoth. 

At the other end of the court, Kerry Almond and Emma Dovey worked tirelessly to turn over ball and had considerable success, with ample support from Bea Skingsley on the wing and Gabriella Marshall at centre.

Thunder will now look to improve their poor starts, which have been a talking point throughout the season, as they head into play-offs. And they have one more chance to do so in their final game of the regular season against Severn Stars on June 3.

This may be a result to forget for Thunder, but it will remain a night to live on in the memory as Manchester’s netball community played its part beautifully in remembering  the victims of the Manchester Arena atrocities.

​Report by Denise Evans