Manchester Thunder 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 going in to Stars shooter Rowe too easily and former Thunder star Liana Leota started to dictate the game. Stars won the quarter by one and it brought the crowd to life as it was anyone’s game going into the final quarter (43-36).
Player of the match Cardwell was brought back into the game at goal attack and had an immediate impact while Ngwira certainly let Rowe know she was there as Thunder stormed into a 10 goal lead. But in true Thunder style they let Stars back in the game once more as they halved the deficit, maybe just to keep everyone on the edge of their seat. But the connections in attack started to show as Thunder took the game out 56-65.
Head Coach Karen Greig said:
“It was a hard fought game – we took control of the game early and never looked to relinquish that control. Stats threw everything at us and made it difficult at time. But we were able to push on at critical times to remain in full control.
“We can’t wait for our first home game next week which is looking like a sell out and will certainly be a cracking atmosphere.”
Thunder Starting 7:
- GS CARDWELL
- GA TURNER
- WA NEAL
- C CARTER
- WD MALCOLM
- GD DOVEY (C)
- GK NGWIRA