Manchester Thunder win pre-season Mike Greenwood Trophy

HOSTS Manchester Thunder claimed the Mike Greenwood Trophy in the Pre-season Manchester Invitational with a seven-goal victory over the Saracens Mavericks in the grand final. It was a big day filled with action, but both the Mavericks and Thunder seemed to be a class ahead with the likes of Loughborough Lightning suffering heavy losses, while Team Bath had just the one win – over the Lightning – with big losses to the grand finalists.

It was an action packed grand final with the lead ebbing and flowing highlighting just how much was on the line. The Mavericks got out to an early three-goal lead heading into quarter time before Manchester fought their way back into the contest and started to claw the margin back. With stars aplenty there was action going on across all thirds of the court making for an exciting battle, but in the end it was Manchester that sunk the last blow walking away with the trophy.

George Fisher led the way for Saracens finding good space in the circle and using her strong holds to turn and shoot with ease unfazed by the likes of Emma Dovey and Lauren Ngwira who tried to put up a wall in defence. Fisher paired exceptionally well in the first term with experienced campaigner Kadeen Corbin who controlled the flow in attack. With the lead pushing out to five goals, Joyce Mvula stood up under the pressure commanding the ball and used her height and athleticism to full advantage. Caroline O’Hanlon was solid through the midcourt for Thunder using her pace, precision and nous to deliver carefully crafted passes into the likes of Mvula in the circle. O’Hanlon also showcased her defensive pressure to pick up clever intercepts and propel the ball back down the court. Eleanor Cardwell and Kathryn Turner both played a solid support role for Mvula in the circle popping up when need be to make an impact on the scoreboard.

But as the game went on the tables started to turn with Thunder finding their rhythm in attack and applying strong defensive pressure to limit the opportunities for Fisher and Corbin. Ashleigh Neal upped the ante down back for Manchester picking off passes while the Mavericks resorted to the bench in hope to provide a spark and quell the attacking forays of their opponents. Razia Quashie moved to the bench making way for Jo Tripp but that did not seem to make a difference with the Thunder continuing their merry way and finding easy access to post. Aliyah Zaranyika was a relatively unknown quantity for her opposition but showcased her versatility able to switch between both circle defence and wing defence making her a handy acquisition for the Mavericks. It was a tale of two halves with the visitors owning the opening half only to be blown away as the game went on by Thunder who steadily built into the game to make the most of their opportunities at the post.

In other results, it was not an overly successful tournament for Team Bath who despite coming agonisingly close in the BiG Showdown struggled to find their mojo. Kim Commane showcased her scoring prowess while Summer Artman showed she is a star of the future but they could not sustain their pressure for a whole game against the higher placed teams. Unfortunately, Loughborough Lightning struggled to make an impact despite having glimpses of magic. In saying that, captain Natalie Panagarry highlighted her defensive skillset able to force turnovers or get deflections but it was not enough to get her side over the line dropping all their games.



Manchester Thunder (45) defeated Saracens Mavericks (40)
Team Bath (34) defeated Loughborough Lightning (27)
Manchester Thunder (45) defeated Loughborough Lightning (26)
Saracens Mavericks (42) defeated Team Bath (26)
Manchester Thunder (48) defeated Team Bath (29)
Saracens Mavericks (43) defeated Loughborough Lightning (31)

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