Manchester Thunder got back to winning ways as they stretched out a huge lead over London Pulse on the Big Easter Weekend in Glasgow to thrash them in their first match of the weekend.
It’s a case of ‘more of the same’ for Thunder who will be hoping to continue today’s momentum into tomorrow’s showdown with Loughborough Lightning.
The first half saw Thunder take an early lead but it wasn’t until the second half, and the final quarter in particular, when the Black and Yellows began to rack up the goals to increase that all important goal difference at the top of the table.
Head Coach Karen Greig opted for a slightly different starting seven, admitting that it was a tactical decision in the hope of resting some legs ahead of tomorrow. Starts for Rebekah Airey and Eleonar Cardwell showcased Thunder’s strength in depth superbly and neither were afraid to show their worth. Airey put in a sublime performance at GD, one which earned her Player of the Match.
The second quarter saw much of the same. Thunder closed down Pulse’s attack well, forcing shooters Chiara Semple and Shantal Slater to shoot from long range rather than comfortably under the post. The goals were in abundance at the other end, thanks to the efforts of Cardwell and Kathryn Turner.
Liana Leota shut down the centre court well and shooters Cardwell and Turner held their own against a feisty defensive duo in the form of England Rose Ama Agbeze and Loreen Ngwira.
Thunder headed into the break ten goals to the good, the perfect opportunity for Greig to make some changes and sample some of the bench. Laura Malcolm came on at WD as Amy Carter moved to C and O’Hanlon rested on the bench. Joyce Mvula took her spot at GS as Cardwell rested after a solid first-half performance.
The third quarter saw Thunder stretch out a strong lead and it was becoming apparent that Pulse would be unable to make up the deficit. The mistakes were creeping in and Thunder’s pace was unforgiving in attack. Thunder’s defence forced Pulse to play a different game and the frustrations became evident from the Superleague newcomers.
The final quarter saw yet more changes from Greig, who brought on Paige Kindred at WD, Emma Dovey enjoyed a run out for 15 minutes at GD, and Ally Thomas made an appearance at GA for the final five minutes. Once again, Thunder had all 12 players out on court.
Airey moved to GK with the arrival of Captain Dovey but her presence was just as great in that position, she bagged her first full game in the Superleague.
Thunder added an impressive 18 goals to the tally in the final quarter, in stark contrast to Pulse’s six. Pulse’s mistakes came thick and fast as the clock wore down and Thunder were able to take full advantage. Dovey flew in with some trademark interceptions and Carter’s speed through the middle of the court caught Pulse off guard on several occasions.
It was a tactically smart display from Greig and her squad, ahead of what is set to be a huge game tomorrow as Thunder take on Loughborough Lightning on Day 2 of the Big Easter Weekend.
Starting 7 Thunder: Cardwell, Turner, Leota, O’Hanlon, Carter, Airey, Almond
Player of the Match: Rebekah Airey (Chosen by Sky)
Photo Credit: Eliza Morgan