Big weekend but small margins

ON one of the biggest weekends the United Kingdom has seen in a while, the margins for the most part in the Netball Super League were not as significant. 

An epic encounter between the Thunder and Rhinos saw the reigning champions ultimately prevail by two goals.

In an ultimate battle the Rhinos almost pulled off an almighty upset but fell agonisingly short.

The Thunder got the early steal off a Rhinos centre pass and converted to take an early lead. However their lead did not last long as the Rhinos levels up proceedings, but couldn’t convert their next pass as the Thunder quickly restored their lead.

They couldn’t establish a big lead as the Rhinos levelled up again late and this time converted to get things back on centre pass.

Things went on centre pass for a while, but the Rhinos snuck away late to lead by two at the first change.

The Rhinos started strongly in the second term and maintained their lead at the same time, but an intercepted missed pass allowed Thunder to get back into the game, level things and take the lead.

The margin got out quickly to as much as four goals, but stayed there for much of the quarter as the Rhinos steadied and stopped the lead growing even further. The Rhinos did briefly bring it back to within two goals, but the margin sat at three in the home side’s favour at the main break.

The Rhinos were the ones to get the better start in the third term, and managed to get within one a couple of times inside the opening four minutes.

Just as the Rhinos were looking like finally levelling up, the Thunder steadied and restored their half time lead. Their lead got out to as much as five goals as they really had a solid control of the game.

A late flurry of goals from the Rhinos saw them get within two, but a dying second goal to the Thunder saw them take a three goal lead into the final change.

The teams traded blows in the early parts of the final term, and slowly but surely the Rhinos worked their way back into the match and levelled things up halfway through the term. The Thunder then regained the lead, but it just felt like one little chance was all the Rhinos needed to level things up.

It was fitting that no one scored in the final minute of the game, but for the Thunder they didn’t mind because they were two ahead and with that win secured their place in the 2023 finals.

The Thunder midcourt, namely Natalie Metcalf (48 feeds) and Amy Carter (20 feeds, seven turnovers, five intercepts, two deflections) led from the front in the win.

Meanwhile Ellie Bird (51 goals, four rebounds) had a solid game for the Rhinos, as did Caroline O’Hanlon (38 feeds).

In other results:

  • Loughborough Lightning have clinched their spot in the 2023 finals with a six goal win over the Severn Stars. 

A seven goal lead to the Lightning at quarter time really sealed things for the home side as things tightened up after that. 

Emma Thacker (50 goals) really stepped up in Mary Cholhok‘s absence, while Fran Williams (four deflections, three intercepts) also had a big game. 

Meanwhile for the Stars Rachel Fee (five turnovers, two intercepts, two rebounds, one deflection) and Jessica Shaw (32 feeds) both had big games. 

  • The Saracens Mavericks had a confidence boosting three goal win over the Sirens. 

In a low scoring clash, it was a battle of the defensive ends with nether side enjoying an easy route to goal.

Razia Quashie (two rebounds, two intercepts, two deflections and two turnovers) and Monique Meyer (five intercepts, four intercepts, four turnovers, two deflections, both starred for the Mavericks.

Meanwhile, not for the first time this year Towera Vinkhumbo shone for the Sirens, finishing with six intercepts, six turnovers and two intercepts.

  • The Storm picked up a handy win in the race for finals with a 19 goal win over Team Bath.

The second quarter was the decisive blow, with 21 goals to nine in favour of the Storm coming in that quarter meant Bath surrendered the rest of the game unsuccessfully, playing catch up.

Layla Guscoth (five deflections, three intercepts, three turnovers, one rebound) and Hannah Knights (four rebounds, four deflections, four turnovers) both starred for the Storm, while Phoebe Maslen (five turnovers, four intercepts, three deflections) starred for Bath.

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