Manchester Thunder got 2019 off to a strong start as they overcame newly-named Saracens Mavericks in the final fixture of the day at Super 10 at Arena Birmingham.
Thunder got off to a flying start and established an early 5-3 lead but the Corbin sisters and George Fisher combined well for Mavericks to keep them within touching distance in the opening stages.
Both teams were leaving everything out there on court but it was Thunder who edged out to a four-goal lead (16-12) at the end of the opening quarter as they capitalised on a Mavericks miss.
Kerry Almond and Emma Dovey made their mark in the second quarter as they defended tenaciously and turned over the ball time and time again with several timely interceptions.
And their efforts were rewarded at the other end through the ever-reliable Kathryn Turner and Joyce Mvula on target.
Thunder continued to exert immense pressure, establishing an eight-goal cushion (30-22) by halftime and then stretching out to a 10-goal advantage (35-25) in the third quarter.
Mavericks kept battling and pushing Thunder hard though, cutting the deficit to six heading into the final 15.
Two-time champions Thunder, and their shooters in particular, remained calm and composed under pressure in the final quarter.
Despite numerous attempts to get back on levels terms, including a last-gasp burst of unanswered goals, Mavericks were unable to fully impose themselves on the game and fell short.