VNSL 2021: Team review – Surrey Storm

THE 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague season is officially done and dusted meaning it is now time for our postseason reviews.  Next up is Surrey Storm, with the side struggling to really generate offensive pressure throughout the season but snagging a huge win in the final round to close out a frustrating campaign on a high.

Season form: 3-17 (10th)

It was a shaky season to say the least from the Storm, with patches of momentum popping up here and there but overall the side struggled to find that four quarter effort that they needed to propel themselves to victory. The side managed to develop some exciting young talent however, using the season to propel their youngsters into the spotlight and give them a real chance of developing their craft against some of the best in the business. With just three wins for the season – with two of those coming in the opening couple of rounds – there was no doubt the Storm struggled to find their winning format. That being said, Mikki Austin was relentless in her approach down court while Yasmin Parsons continuously stepped up to the plate to deliver silver service feeds to Karyn Bailey at the post. Emma Magee and Frankie Wells earned plenty of court time, while livewire defender Alima Priest became a real contender across the court as the season went on, continuously on the prowl to stop her opposition attackers in their tracks.

Best win: Def. Wasps Netball 39-35, Round 20

It is safe to say the Storm’s best win of the season occurred in their final match for the year, sending off retiree Bailey in the best of circumstances after a tough season. With little winning form to go off, the side turned out an exceptional performance to defeat the Wasps for the very first time by just four goals, as import defender Felisitus Kwangwa turned it out across the court in an impressive effort. With the momentum swinging at each quarter break, it was the Storm’s first three quarters that set them apart, leading 33-23 at the final break and, despite the mountain-load of pressure throughout the final term, managed to skate away with the eventual victory. The side’s 15 combined turnovers were pivotal, as Kwangwa and Leah Middleton wreaked havoc with six apiece, while Bailey piled on 32 goals from 36 attempts. 

Standout player: Karyn Bailey

Most Improved: Alima Priest

Retiring goal shooter Bailey was the go-to girl in the goal circle all season, making it hard for any defender to find a loose ball with her excellent reach and footwork to edge closer to post. Whilst not the most versatile prospect in the goal circle, Bailey did what was required of her and consistently provided a tall option in the circle, with the high ball in more than doing the trick. Whilst the team could not always find an easy option in, the Australian was hugely reliable once she had possession, with her accuracy and rebounding ability paying off time and time again, averaging 92 per cent accuracy to post and 27 rebounds. As for the most improved, it is hard to look past goal keeper, Priest. She may have sat out the last couple of matches for the season, but Priest was a hard nut to crack in defence and well and truly stepped up as the season went on. Despite starting quietly, Priest rolled in just like a storm as the side continued to look for answers across the court, and well and truly proved she is capable of taking the game on. Priest averaged 2.5 intercepts and just over two deflections across her 14 recorded appearances, with just five unforced errors for her combined 58 turnovers. The electrifying defender recorded a most valuable player award during the side’s loss to Lightning in Round 15, showcasing just how much of a livewire she can be.


Picture credit: Steve Porter

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