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The 2020 Vitality Netball Superleague season has been terminated with immediate effect by England Netball following the suspension in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was taken after weeks of discussion of options and scenarios by the Superleague Board and was subsequently ratified by the sport’s governing body.
It is not the outcome Manchester Thunder
, the reigning champions, were hoping for however we understand and accept the decision which was based on the welfare and safety of players, staff, match officials, volunteers and supporters.
Managing Director Debbie Hallas said:
“No-one wanted this season to end, especially as it had only just begun. But the uncertainty of these unparalleled times has led us, regretfully, to this situation.
“As a franchise, we are firmly committed to ensuring that the recent momentum, increased profile and positive exposure that both the sport and the franchise has earned since the Commonwealth Games 2018, Vitality Netball ...
Please find below the latest update from the Vitality Netball Superleague on the 2020 season:
Further to the statement issued on 17 March, which announced our decision to suspend all Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) activity until at least 30 April 2020, all VNSL Clubs and Board members have convened again to further discuss and review the position of the 2020 season.
A collective decision was made to extend the postponement of all fixtures, league activity and pathway delivery until at least 31 May 2020. A further meeting will be held in mid-May to review the position of the league as we are aware that the Coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly changing and fluid situation.
We remain committed to returning to the court but only when it is safe to do so as the health and wellbeing of our fans, volunteers, players, staff, officials and all of the Netball Family is of the upmost importance to us.
We will continue to follow Government guidance closely, whilst resuming convers...
I hope you, your family and friends are staying safe and well during these unprecedented times. I wanted to write today to update you on what we're doing at Thunder to secure the future of our franchise amid the Coronavirus crisis.
From Friday 27 March, all 17 players and coaching staff employed by the franchise were furloughed through the government scheme to support businesses through the current unprecedented period.
This will ensure the business can continue to keep its on and off court team together and, once the restrictions on social distancing are lifted, resume our work.
For the franchise as a business, it means 80 per cent of our salary bill will be paid by the government. We have though committed to top up the remaining 20 per cent so our players and coaches continue to receive what they usually would.
We want to ensure we do everything we can to ensure that Manchester Thunder
has a strong future once the national emergency measures are lifted and life, for us ...
Dear Thunder Family
Usually I would be writing for our matchday programme about how much we're looking forward to the weekend's game and having you cheer us on at Belle Vue.
But not this week - and probably not for some time.
So I wanted to write this email to you, to all our Thunder Family, to let you know that through these difficult and strange times, we're standing with you, as a team we're here to support you and you're never on your own.
No-one really knows what's going to happen over the next few weeks and I know that for many of you that's scary. But we'll get through it together.
Things will get back to normal. We'll get back to playing in front of you again at Belle Vue, we hope we'll get to continue our unbeaten start to the season and we know you'll be there to support us all the way.
But, until then, there are more important things and it's right we take a break from netball to focus on those. So, please make sure you're following the simple things ...
Dear Thunder Family,
You will be aware that the Vitality Netball Superleague Board announced the postponement of all fixtures on Sunday. Today, a further meeting was held and it has been decided the suspension of the league will last until 30 April when the latest situation will be assessed. You can read the full statement on the Superleague website >>
Given this announcement, and the decision from England Netball to also advise that all organised netball activities be suspended, we wanted to update you on our position:
Clearly, the decision means our next fixtures will not take place as planned. Ticket sales have been suspended and please do not travel to Belle Vue if you have tickets.
Tickets purchased for games that have been postponed will be valid for the rearranged fixtures.
When that new date is confirmed, if you cannot attend you will be asked to return your tickets and will receive a full refund - your ticket issuer will ...
Dear Thunder Family,
This lunchtime, the Vitality Netball Superleague Board announced the postponement of future Vitality Netball Superleague fixtures with immediate effect.
In a statement, they say:
"Further to the statement issued on Friday 13th March, the Vitality Netball Superleague Board have continued to monitor the outbreak and growing concerns around the rapid spread of COVID-19. The Board has taken the decision to postpone Vitality Netball Superleague fixtures with immediate effect.
The Board and all Vitality Netball Superleague clubs will convene again on Tuesday 17th March where the position of the 2020 season, in light of an anticipated update on guidance from the Government, will be considered. A full statement will be issued later next week.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the Netball Family updated as appropriate."
We have received no further details other than the above announcement - as soon as we do, we will communicate them to ...
continued their unbeaten start to the Vitality Netball Superleague season with an 18-point victory over Surrey Storm.
Round 4, at Surrey Sports Park, saw the 2019 Champions extend their run of victories to five. by 60 points to 42, on a day when little other sport was taking place across the country with the Coronavirus shutdown taking hold.
The game started goal for goal as the teams worked each other out. Under immense physical pressure Joyce Mvula and Eleanor Cardwell stood strong as they helped build a six goal lead by the first break – 10-16.
The Thunder defence of Emma Dovey and Lauren Ngwira were clearly assigned to put pressure on 6ft 4 shooter Karyn Bailey but Storm goal attack Sophie Hankin stepped up and was having success from distance. Recognised, this was snuffed out and Hankin was subsequently replaced by Ellie Kelk.
At the other end it was like watching WWE wrestling at times with a physical battle and big hits between Mvula, ...
Match Report by Lauren Coop
Photography by Eliza Morgan
delivered an incredible come back in front of a sell-out crowd at Belle Vue to continue their unbeaten start to the season by beating Loughborough Lightning 67-64.
Despite Joyce Mvula scoring the first goal to set the scene, Thunder began to trail behind with a 6 point deficit. Loughborough’s defence was strong and their unstoppable shooter Colhok kept topping them. Thunder managed to maintain their lead by 1 goal to end the first quarter on 17-16.
End-to-end scenes saw equal scoring, however Lightning managed to get just a few more goals in making the gap between them and the black and yellows increase to 8 goals, ending the 1st half 28-36.
The 3rd quarter became ruled by Lightning with an average point gap of 12. However Thunder were not giving up! They were still going for it, trying different tactics to throw Lightning off their game. Loughborough remained defiant though which saw the 2 ...
secured their second win from two games in the Vitality Netball Superleague - but they faced a tough battle to beat a determined Severn Stars side at the University of Worcester Arena.
After an encouraging start with Eleanor Cardwell continuing her great form, Stars finally found their groove and started to push Thunder all the way. A couple of stray feeds and a missed shot let the home side right back in the game with only a late Cardwell goal separating the teams at the end of the first quarter 13-14.
Coach Karen Greig brought on Caroline O’Hanlon at centre for the second quarter and after a goal for goal start to the quarter the black and yellows started to pull away increasing their lead to four at the half time break 26-30.
Greig rang the changes for the third quarter bringing on Malawi Queen Joyce Mvula at goal shooter, Amy Carter on to wing defence and Rebekah Airey to goal keeper. Dovey did her best to drive her team forward but the ball was ...
started the defence of their Vitality Netball Superleague title in the best possible way at the Season Opener by beating last year's defeated finalists, Wasps, by 62 points to 55.
It was Wasps Netball’s veteran mid-courter Jade Clarke who got this tie underway but Thunder managed to get the first goal of this contest, 1-0.
The champions found themselves narrowly ahead but managed to pull away after the first 15 minutes as Amy Carter maintained high energy levels to ensure strong reception and communication across the court.
At the end of the first 15 minutes, Thunder had carved out a six-goal advantage but the likes of Amy Flanagan and Rachel Dunn were battling hard to keep within touching distance to their opposition. 17-11.
In the second quarter, England international Laura Malcolm proved her worth with a strong defensive performance. Wasps, however, were not giving into Thunder’s pressure.
Katie Harris narrowed the gap to four points ...