Mavericks draw leaves Storm primed for play-offs
15 May 2011
Surrey Storm finished their regular FNSL season with another great performance against League leaders Hertfordshire Mavericks, drawing 48-48. The team pulled out another well-polished 60 minutes of netball as they continue to gain momentum and confidence going into the playoffs.
A win or draw would have seen Mavericks secure a home playoff, and although the result would not affect Storm's league placing of fourth, they were set on causing more upset in the NSL and building on their Bath victory.
The starting line up saw no changes from the previous two fixtures and Storm started off where they’d left off in Thursday against Bath, stealing Mavericks' first centre pass and converting off their own. Another forced error gave the away team the opportunity to go 3-0 up early on, but they failed to convert.
Despite this early run, there was little to separate the two teams in the first 15 minutes, and with both Dunn and Greenway under some serious physical pressure in the circle, Storm were limited to just 14 attempts at goal. Storm's ever-improving defensive pairing of Reid and Holland looked as deadly as ever, coming out with clean turnovers and causing hesitation in the Mavericks' attack, which kept the home side to 15 attempts. Going into the first break, Storm held their early lead by one at 12-11.
The second quarter saw the home side find some flow and with Corbin's and Atkinson's speed in attack they stretched the lead to 6 mid-way through the quarter. However, Storm didn’t panic and kept the score board ticking over, with Greenway doing a lot of work outside the circle to open up Dunn under the post. Player of the Match Cosentino at WA was solid both in her movement and feeding, and with her and Trippick's patience around the circle, Storm managed to stick with Mavericks and prevent them pulling away with any significance. Going into the half-time break, Storm trailed 26-22 with everything to play for.
Storm came out for the second half hard and an early intercept from Reid saw them plug the lead back to two. However, Mavericks had other ideas and some sloppy passing allowed them to capitalise. With the feed into Brownfield landing more consistently, they pulled back out to 33-28 going into the final 5 minutes of the third quarter. An injury time-out for Greenway with four minutes on the clock allowed Storm to regroup and coach Mary Beardwood opted for a switch around in attack, with Cosentino going into GA and Greenway coming out to WA.
These changes had a great impact, and despite Cosentino struggling to get her first two shots over Keable she quickly settled. Seaton started to read the through court passages of play and take a number of key intercepts from Corbin and Storm surged forwads again. Storm took their second quarter of the game by two to go into the final 15 minutes 37-35 down.
The final period saw numerous errors from both sides as the pressure began to show both in the shooting and the passing. With momentum swinging from side to side, and both defensive units coming out with some impressive turnovers, the game went goal for goal for the majority of the period.
It was Storm who broke the pattern and converted off a Mavericks centre pass to get the two goal buffer with less than 4 minutes on the clock. However, comeback-queens Mavericks, renowned for their ability to close out games, looked set to spoil the Storm party, and a Wood intercept on the centre pass saw the scores level up with less than 30 seconds to play. Storm had their opportunity to take the win, but a wayward pass gave Mavericks a final chance with a long range feed into Brownfield. Storm keeper Reid found one last leap in her locker to push the ball off the back line and run the clock down with the scores tied at 48 all.
Coach Mary Beardwood was again pleased with the performance: "It’s great to pull out another good performance and cement the good form we are finding coming into the playoffs. We will be working had over the next 2 weeks in the build up to the playoff at Bath, but the girls are looking good and growing in confidence. We are looking forward to our next challenge."
Highlights from the Mavericks game will be shown as the highlights game on Sky Sports on Thursday 19th May.
After finishing in fourth place, Storm now face third place Team Bath at the Sports Training Village in Bath, on Friday 27th May, 2011 at 8pm.
The winner will face the loser between Mavericks and Northern Thunder, which is due to be played at 3pm on Saturday 29th May, for a place in the Grand Finals against their game's victor on Thursday 9 June.