Top of the table NSL clash lives up to its billing

IN the battle for top spot on the Netball Super League table, it was the Manchester Thunder who ultimately prevailed, downing the Loughborough Lightning by four goals. In a match befitting of its top two status, it was tight and tense right the way through, with no obvious winner for much of the match.

Breaking the very first centre pass gave the Lightning quite the boost, who then went on to shoot seven of the first 10 goals of the game to really set down the early marker. But the Thunder then made a change in midcourt, and they reaped the rewards from that move with the score being evened out.

Momentum swayed several times in the first term, and ultimately things were dead even at 15 goals apiece at the first break. It was still tough to break the teams apart in the second term.

It was frenetic and at times chaotic, and both sides had their time in front. Ultimately though, it was the Lightning who crucially held a one-goal lead at the main change.

The Thunder did not take too long to retake the lead for themselves early in the third term, but they were unable to maintain it as the Lightning fought back. Proceedings remained right for much of the term, but right at the death the Thunder started to assert some control, scoring five of the last six goals to take a three-goal buffer into the final change.

That was the ultimate turning point in the game, as they managed to keep their lead and even increase it in the last term to take the win.

Imogen Allison and Amy Carter were the ones driving plenty of the intercepts to gains for the Thunder, alongside Josie Huckle. Meanwhile for the Lightning, Mary Cholhok again impressed under the ring, while Natalie Panagarry also had a captain’s game in mid court.

In other results:

  • The Saracens Mavericks picked up a crucial win, downing the Strathclyde Sirens by 16 goals.

It was the first and fourth quarters that were the real damage quarters from the Mavericks, restricting the Sirens to under 10 goals a quarter in each and winning the last quarter by 11 goals.

  • The Surrey Storm also picked up a crucial win in the context of its season, downing Team Bath by seven goals.

Bath actually lead at quarter time, but the Storm turned things around in the middle two quarters, comfortably turning the game in their favour and setting themselves up for the win.

  • In another close match, the London Pulse prevailed over the Leeds Rhinos by the barest of margins.

It was a game of swinging momentums, and despite the Rhinos winning the last quarter it was not quite enough.

  • The Severn Stars made a big of a statement in their win over the Cardiff Dragons, beating the Welsh side by 15 goals.

Although the Stars already lead by six goals at the final change, they put the foot down and won the last quarter by nine goals, restricting the Dragons to only seven goals for the term in the process.

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