Preview: Manchester Thunder Bank Holiday weekend double-header
Manchester Thunder’s Bank Holiday weekend starts at 7am on Saturday.
The squad will head north across the border to Glasgow, where they will face Sirens for the first of their Superleague double-header of matches over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Following a rest day on Sunday, the Black and Yellows return to their new home at Belle Vue to take on play-off rivals Loughborough Lightning.
It’s the second time facing both sides as we head towards the business end of the season, with six teams in with a realistic chance of making the top four,
Thunder suffered a narrow loss to Wasps last time out and will be gunning for maximum points by the time the sun sets on Bank Holiday Monday.
Coach Karen Greig acknowledged the spirit and fight her players showed away at undefeated Wasps last week, and a strong showing in training has set them up well for the weekend.
“They really raised the bar for themselves last week and this week in training,” she said.
“Their focus and intensity has been on the money, I am expecting them to put out a more consistent performance with that high work rate in both attack and defence resulting in a good performance.
“We say each week put out a good performance and the result will take care of itself.”
Despite Sirens struggling for performances and points so far this season, they are set to be a real test for their visitors, especially after Thunder needed extra time to take the win last time they met in Scotland in the league.
But one star player for Sirens in that game was Caroline O’Hanlon, who made the switch to Manchester in the off-season and is sure to be in no mood for sentiment when she takes to the court for Thunder on Saturday afternoon.
Lightning, now back to full strength following the departures of a number of players to the Commonwealth Games – including gold medal winner Beth Cobden – will be looking to avenge their home loss to Thunder in round four.
It’s shaping up to be a proper tussle for the top spots in the table. As things stand ahead of the weekend fixtures, Lightning are one spot above Thunder, having played one game more.
But Greig and her players are relishing the challenge.
She said: “We always knew the top of the table would be tight and most teams have played each other now.
“There is a bit of imbalance as rearranged snow fixtures haven’t happened yet.
“The players are a real tight knit group and have each other’s backs, they know not to put any pressure on themselves or each other and just take one game at a time. The mood in camp is good and they are ready for what will be a tough double header weekend.”
Grab your tickets for our match against Loughborough Lightning on Bank Holiday Monday here