Manchester Thunder looked in fine form in their 36-63 victory over Celtic Dragons at Deeside Leisure Centre. In front of a sell-out crowd of over 300 the black and yellows put out many combinations in their final pre-season run out with head coach Karen Greig trying to work out her best team.
Thunder started well with a quick 3-0 lead and made Dragons work for every ball, the defence through mid-court was impressive. Dragons were restricted to scoring just four goals with Thunder on 11.
Dragons came out breathing fire for the second quarter, giving Thunder a lot to think about as they started to move the ball more fluidly around the court. The changes affected Thunder and they uncharacteristically threw a lot of possession away. At the end of the quarter Dragons had pulled back to 12-16.
The third quarter saw the introduction of Amy Clinton at goal shooter, it had an immediate impact and the attack combination of Caroline O’Hanlon, Liana Leota, Kathryn Turner and Clinton had the Dragons defence scratching their heads. At half time Thunder were dominant with a 13 goal lead 16-29.
Youngster Amy Carter impressed at wing defence and her turnovers further pushed on Thunder’s attack as they closed out the fourth quarter 20-41.
Carter continued her form into the fifth quarter working well with O’Hanlon and Thunder went into the final quarter leading 26-52.
Thunder took their foot off the pedal in the final quarter but closed out the game 36-63, in impressive victory to head into the Superleague season.
Today’s performance has given head coach Karen Greig a selection head ache, she said, “Really happy to take a 27-goal win, we got everyone on court for at least two quarters. We tried lots of combinations and the players really stepped up, giving me a real selection dilemma going into the start of the season.”
Post-match reaction from Karen Greig & Gabrielle Towell:
Thunder Starting 7: GS Mvula, GA Turner, WA Leota, C O’Hanlon, WD Skingsley, GD Dovey, GK Almond
Bench: Bloomfield, Carter, Clinton, Hoult, Morgan