Streaks broken at both ends of the NSL ladder

THE match of the round in the Netball Super League over the weekend was an intriguing top of the table clash between the Severn Stars and Manchester Thunder, which saw the Thunder come away victorious 65 goal to 50 and with their undefeated record for 2024 still in tact.

The margin may have been big, but it was the little moments that really cost the Stars in the end, which just kept building on each other as the game progressed.

Thanks to being able to capitalise on strong defensive positioning, it was the Thunder who jumped ahead to the quick early lead.

That defensive positioning was a real advantage for the Thunder, who were able to pick up a number of defensive intercepts and the shooters were making the most of it down the other end.

The Stars did kick back into gear and reduce the margin to only a pair of goals, but they were unable to fully reel in the deficit.

Ultimately the margin was three goals in favour of the Thunder at the first change, with the score line reflecting where momentum sat in the game.

The Thunder managed to keep their noses in front early in the second term, and much like the first they were able to extend it a bit as the quarter progressed. The Stars kept trying to the aerial route to their shooters, but Josie Huckle in particular was intercepting the ball too easily, which was stopping Sigrid Burger being able to shoot at her normal levels. Meanwhile up the end Lois Pearson was using her size and speed to her advantage, making space really well around the taller defender, leaving not much that the likes of her direct opponent Ella Powell-Davies could do.

By the time the main break came, the Thunder had extended their margin out to eight goals.

The third quarter was where the Thunder really showed their class. They continued to string chains of goals together while keeping their defensive pressure high, and as such were able to extend their lead beyond the 10 goal mark. Natalie Metcalf and Amy Carter were working hard to ensure that Pearson and Paige Reed had plenty of shooting opportunities, which left the likes of Gabby Marshall and an at times flying Jasmine Brown with a lot of work on their hands.

By the time the third quarter came to an end the margin was out at 14 goals and the Stars had a lot of work to do.

Things did actually tighten up in the last quarter. The margin for the quarter was only one goal, but it was still won by the Thunder so made little different to the final, overall score.

In other results:

  • The Leeds Rhinos are on the board for 2024 after a big win over the Strathclyde Sirens.

The Sirens were no match for the Rhinos, with the Scots only able to put up at most 11 goals in a quarter while the Rhinos were putting up around 20 goals per quarter.

Joyce Mvula was on song in attack for the Rhinos, as was Geva Mentor in defence. Meanwhile Emily Nicholl certainly put forward a noble performance in trying to keep the Sirens in the game but alas could not.

  • The London Pulse have made it two wins on the trot after winning big against Team Bath.

The margin was already six goals at the first change, and things just went downhill from there for Bath, culminating in a 20 goal to seven final term in favour of the Pulse.

Alicia Scholes (30 feeds) and Funmi Fadoju (eight deflections, five gains) both starred for the Pulse, while for Bath midcourters Bethan Dyke (32 feeds) and Phoebe Maslen (30 feeds) tried their hardest to keep their team in the match but could not.

  • The Surrey Storm have also made it two on the trot after overcoming the Cardiff Dragons.

The margin was pretty small throughout the clash but the Storm were able to sneak ahead late to take the win.

Proscovia Peace was back to her destructive best for the Storm in attack, while up the other end Haniisha Muhameed also had a strong game. Meanwhile for the Dragons it was Khanyisa Chawane and Nia Jones who starred.

  • The Loughborough Lightning bounced back from last week’s heartbreak in emphatic fashion, defeating fellow Londoners the Mavericks by 20 goals.

The win was set up in the first half, with the Lightning winning the first two quarters by seven goals and 12 goals respectively, and it ultimately proved too much for the Mavericks to come back from.

Nicola Smith (seven deflections) wracked up the stats for the Lightning, as did Hannah Joseph (35 feeds) in midcourt. On the flipside, Vicki Oyesola was certainly making her presence felt in defence for the Mavericks, but not always for the right reasons.

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