Mavericks survive Storm to take title
09 June 2011
Surrey Storm fell at the last hurdle as Hertfordshire Mavericks won the FIAT Netball Superleague Grand Final 57 - 46 in Hertfordshire.
Storm started the game well and were leading at half time, but in a hard fought contest Mavericks came back and took control to win the Superleague title for the second time.
It was heartache for Storm who have been in impressive form going into the final, and after knocking out Team Bath and Northern Thunder, were looking for their maiden title.
Mavericks won the toss and made a brisk start to the match establishing an early lead, three goals up in the first minute of the match it looked a little ominous for Storm who’d nipped around the M25 for the biggest match in their young franchise’s history.
Shooters Brownfield and Dunn matched each other shot for shot,once the Surrey Storm shooter had dropped the ball in the net to level the score at 4-4 - it was her 800th successful shot of the season, a remarkable tally.
With a minute and 17 seconds on the clock Storm engineered a mid-court turnover allowing Dunn to convert and take the team ahead for the first time in the match; a straight forward centre pass was also netted before the whistle signalled time up and Surrey Storm had a two goal lead.
The visitors picked up where they left off at the start of the second period that saw a little more cautious approach from the teams. In the 15 minutes the best Storm could do is double the lead but couldn’t pull further in front and three minutes before half-time, Mavericks rallied and converted a turn-over to help them win the quarter but still trail by one goal.
Game winning changes were made at half time by Mavericks boss Maggie Jackson: Louisa Brownfield came out to GA and Vicklyn Joseph took up position under the post, Guscoth and Keable swapped duties in the defensive circle. Storm couldn’t touch the Hertfordshire outfit as they levelled before moving six goals ahead.
Surrey’s skipper Tamsin Greenway called a medical time-out and after treatment used the opportunity to swap bibs with Gemma Cosentino moving into the shooting-circle. The game restarted, but the stadium clock didn’t, within the minute Storm had closed the gap by two goals before the clock was “stopped” again. Natalie Seaton was speedily treated by Storm’s physio for a severely dislocated finger – we couldn’t quite hear the click as it was relocated - there was no question of her playing on and she left for the bench in pain and distress.
Fran Desmond took her place and when the whistle was blown, this time the clock did restart. Mavericks again surged ahead into a seven goal advantage but Storm made the most of the final seconds in the quarter, (were there a few more than usual?) to cut the deficit to four.
The final sprint was played in the same spirit of the match but Mavericks got stronger and more inventive as the end of the season loomed. With 8 minutes to play Storm were still in the game trailing 45-42. Maybe the memories of previous Grand Finals spurred them on as from then on in it was the Hertfordshire side all the way.
On the wrong end of the scoreline this season Storm captain Tamsin Greenway admitted her team were second best on the night despite having won the first half.
“What a game obviously I’m disappointed, I’m disappointed we lost but I have to put it out to them, fair play… For half a game we were the better team in terms of what we did to them defensively but didn’t take our chances. In attack we let ourselves down tonight and that’s disappointing.” The Storm skipper was also complimentary about the eventual winners: “They were good you can’t take it away from them Mavericks are always a solid team. They don’t do anything amazingly different they just work hard, play well do their job really really well turnover ball and take it to goal and they did that today. When we rattled them they changed and it worked - well played.”
As much as Mary Beardwood wanted to see Surrey Storm win, the head coach may have found the defeat by her close friend Maggie Jackson slightly easier to bear: “Congratulations to Maggie as coach of Mavericks I thought she made very, very, good changes in the second half which killed us off at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.
“I thought we held them well for half an hour; we played some really good classy netball but the changes we didn’t react quickly enough. Credit to them I thought they played really, really well.
“We couldn’t have done much more, so credit to my players because they gave it their all, but were second best on the night. My team were tremendous the way they started off and we finished with some youngsters in there at the end the WD and GD who finished - Fran (Desmond) and Katy (Holland) 19 and 17, well in a Grand Final at the age… it can’t be bad.”
Storm would like to thank everyone for their amazing support in the Grand Final. Whether you travelled to the game, watched at home on TV or followed the action on twitter, your support was fantastic, as it has been all season.
With the domestic season now drawing to a close, attention now turns to the Netball World Championships in Singapore from 3 - 10 July. Storm's Rachel Dunn and Tamsin Greenway have been selected in the squad to represent England, and Storm will be keeping Storm fans up-to-date with their progress.