Storm back on track with win at Loughborough
15 February 2011
Surrey Storm got back to winning ways in the Fiat Netball Superleague with a 56-46 victory over Loughborough Lightning on Saturday.
350 people packed into the Netball Centre at Loughborough University to watch two teams with the same intentions of making the much talked about ‘final four’ at the end of the Fiat Superleague season. Surrey Storm NTL set the Seniors up with a great start to proceedings, taking a convincing 53-30 win over the Lightning Youth side, without the assistance of ‘Super Fran’ Desmond, who made her first Superleague start.
In what was dubbed a 'must-win' game for both sides, things were quite tight in the opening minutes of the fixture, Harten and Dunn showing their England pedigree and nailing their first shots at goal. But it didn’t take long for Storm to pull away. The gap widened courtesy of some great work from the Storm defensive back three of Reid, Seaton and Desmond, with Loughborough going down 8-15 by the end of the first quarter.
There were no changes for Storm in the 2nd quarter, but the home side replaced Morris for Sinclair at GK in a bid to tame an on form Dunn. Some tenacious work from Trippick mid-court saw some excellent passages of play going into the attacking circle, but Loughborough really knuckled down and matched the effort with some impressive netball at both ends. 20-27 to Storm at half-time, meant a 12 all draw in quarter two.
Lightning captain Harten came out to GA after the break, with Badwin joining her at shooter. They also moved their playmaker Olivia Murphy form centre to wing attack, rested Candappa and brought Sarah-Jane O’Sullivan into the match. On the other side of the court, Beardwood kept 6 of her players in position, only making one change – McHale to GA, who thanked the coach by netting her first shot at goal from distance. Loughborough were still not out of this match, and despite some silly mistakes from both sides and a slight arm injury to Dunn after 7 minutes, Surrey Storm stayed confident taking their lead to 8 goals after 15 minutes.
Quarter 4 saw the game still within the grasps of both teams – a great deal of skill and flair was shown all the way down the court. Dunn continued to sink her legendary long bombs, and Reid secured rebound after rebound off Harten, but a lot of Storm passes still went wayward courtesy of a hardworking Loughborough defence. With 10 minutes to go, Storm opened their lead to 10 goals. Despite putting 14 points between the sides at one point, Lightning fought until the final whistle and Storm took their second win of the season; 56-46.
Storm Head Coach Mary Beardwood said after the match – "All the hard work at training was evident in our performance tonight. We have been able to iron out some early mistakes and are extremely pleased with the result." When asked for a Player of the Match, Beardwood had no hesitation in rewarding the honour once again to GK Hannah Reid. "Hannah comes out for every match and puts in 100%. Working effectively with Natalie and Fran in defence, she turned over ball, piled pressure on one of the country’s best shooters and got some great rebounds."
The win sees Storm move up to fifth place in the Superleague table, level on points with Lightning having played a game less. With Storm looking to secure a top four finish and a playoff place at the end of the season, the next few weeks will see a key period for Storm with fixtures against Glasgow Wildcats, fourth place rivals and the much improved Leeds Carnegie and the return fixture versus Lightning at Surrey Sports Park. Six points from these three games will see Strom well placed to finish the season in fourth spot.
Tickets are still available for upcoming home matches versus Leeds Carnegie on Monday 28 February at 7.30pm, Loughborough Lightning on Saturday 5 March at 7pm and Glasgow Wildcats on Friday 1 April at 7pm.
You can buy your ticket now by calling the Storm Box Office on 01483 443333, at Surrey Sports Park or online here.