Match Report: Friendly – Thunder 77 – Team Northumbria 49

The match report for Thunder’s friendly against Team Northumbria has been written by UCLan Sports Journalism student Cassie Nunn-Price.

Manchester Thunder stormed to a convincing victory against Team Northumbria, beating the away team by 28 points in their first game of the pre-season.

The first half was minor in comparison to the latter half, with Thunder taking their time to get into the game and letting Northumbria take a three-point lead early on. But in the final five minutes of the first Thunder became the dominant side and ended the quarter eight points ahead.

In the second quarter changes where made, coach Karen Greig opted to change formation and put a young squad out. Mistakes in passing and gaps in defence cost Thunder chances in the second. Northumbria noticed the weaker side and took advantage, clawing back their eight-point deficit, ending the first half 32-30. Northumbria were back into contention.

Greig spoke post-match about the second quarter, saying: “I think it’s a learning curve, I put on a young squad, and for some of them it was their first time that they’d actually stepped out on court together.

“I was pleased with what they did, there was lots of positives, and we were already chatting about the things that they need to tidy up on for next time, so not to worrying.”

Changes in the third quarter saw new recruit Caroline O’Hanlon back in at centre, who undoubtedly pulled the team back into form for the second half. A performance worthy of the Player of the Match award she received at the end of the game.

The second half was a dominant show for Thunder, who’s centre court was on fine form. Long shots were played with ease, and cleaver passes into the circle allowed GS Amy Clinton and her scoring partner Ally Thomas good shots on target, giving the hosts a lovely 18-point lead on their opposition.

The final quarter saw Liana Leota back at WA after only playing the the first quarter, with Kathryn Turner back in at GA, and Dani Bloomfield and Amy Carter on at GD and WD.

Whilst Northumbria tried to keep a roaring Thunder at bay, it was to no avail. Small chances gave Northumbria hope, but with a 20-point deficit and a dominant Thunder, chances were slim.

Great interceptions from GK Kerry Almond as well as great paths into the circle from centre court into attack meant there was no stopping an intense Thunder side, who ended the final quarter 77-49.

After the match, Greig was very pleased with the outcome, she said: “I played all thirteen today and I wanted to make sure that I gave everybody a run out.

“I thought everybody made a good account for themselves, and obviously with the season starting in four weeks’ time, they’re all starting to fight for the positions.”