Our U19s have taken the NPL title after a near-perfect season.
After narrowly missing out on lifting the trophy last year, Thunder won eight of their nine games and scored a league-high 528 goals in an impressive campaign to finish top of the table.
They showed that they meant business from the off with two comprehensive wins – 32-69 vs. Team Bath and 38-57 vs. Severn Stars – on the opening weekend in December.
Thunder then edged out defending champions London Pulse in a tense and nail-biting 53-52 victory before themselves being on the wrong side of a one-goal game, losing 47-48 to Loughborough Lightning.
They quickly bounced back to though, recording a dominant 28-80 victory away to North East and then getting the better of both Wasps Netball (49-40) and Leeds Rhinos (37-63).
The final eight fixtures of the competition were all played on Saturday 13th April in Birmingham as an exciting season came to a close.
Thunder were crowned champions after wins against Surrey Storm (61-41) and Mavericks (37-49) on the closing day with Wasps Netball secured a second-place finish and last season’s winners London Pulse coming third.
Manchester Thunder’s Director of Netball Karen Greig said:
“Winning the national U19 NPL title is a huge achievement in a competition packed with the best young netballing talent from across the country. Congratulations to every player on their hard work and commitment and I look forward to seeing many of them go onto have even more success in the future.
“Manchester and the North West has a proud record of producing world class netballing talent and we could not do that without the support of a great team of coaches, led in this competition – for the first time this year – by U19 Head Coach Jennifer Fields. Thank you to every single one of them, plus the players’ parents, schools and clubs, who allow them to be the best they can.”
Jennifer Fields, U19 Head Coach, added:
“I am so proud of the entire U19s Squad – they have worked extremely hard this season to become Champions, bouncing back after two tough defeats to London Pulse last season. I want to say a massive thank you to all staff involved, all the parents for their continued support and most of all the girls for putting in the hard work. Congratulations all!
“This is just the beginning of the hard work! We’re looking forward to the NPL tournament in July already!”
(Photos courtesy of Clive Jones)