Match report: Storm reign over Thunder to stay top
24 April 2012
Surrey Storm sent previously unbeaten Northern Thunder to a second consecutive defeat in front of their own fans on Monday night, winning 57-61 in Manchester to stay top of the Superleague Top Tier and cement a strong position going forward to the upcoming Finals Weekend.
In a repeat of the sides' previous meetings it was a close game, but after a strong start Storm lead from the first quarter and never relinquished theirlead.
Storm owe much of their win to two fantastic opening quarters. The starting seven of Reid, Holland, Seaton, Trippick, Greenway, Cookey and Dunn got off to a good start scoring off Thunder’s opening centre pass and built from there.
The visitors looked controlled and confident as they forced Thunder into some uncharacteristic errors and with Dunn and Cookey converting consistently at the other end Storm soon built up a five goal lead. A couple of last minute errors allowed Thunder to pull the lead back to three going into the break but Storm looked in control.
A switch around in the Thunder defensive circle in the second quarter opened up the quick ball into Dunn, and Storm were quick to capitalise on this with Greenway and Trippick finding Storm’s goal machine with ease.
The introduction of Karen Greig in Thunder’s shooting circle tightened up their attacking play but the turnovers still came for Storm through Reid, Holland and Seaton. By the half time break the lead had stretched to eight at 31-23 in Storm’s favour.
Storm maintained their control in the second half and at times looked dangerous as the lead opened up twelve points with ten minutes to go. However Thunder were not about to give up and as their combination of Greig and Lawson started to find their rhythm in attack, they began to grow in confidence.
A last minute goal flurry saw Thunder threaten to turn the tables on the previous encounter but despite pegging back Storm's lead twice in the final two quarters by two points each time, it was not enough.
Storm held on for a fantastic away win and their second against their title rivals in as many games. The victory puts Surrey six points clear of the Fiat NetballSuperleague with two home games against Hertfordshire Mavericks and Team Bath to go.
Player Coach Tamsin Greenway said, “It was a good team performance and a solid win for us away from home. I thought the team took control of the game from the off and didn’t really look back. Pam was the deserved Player of the Match with some awesome attacking play, but all the girls played their part.”
“I was a little disappointed with how we responded to the pressure in the final few minutes, but that’s something that can be easily addressed. Overall I have to be happy with where we are at, by no means perfect but on course to peak at the right time, which is the Finals Weekend on 19 and 20 May in Dagenham.”
Next up for Surrey Storm is a sell-out home tie against local rivals Hertfordshire Mavericks at Surrey Sports Park on Saturday 28 April, 7pm.