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Manchester Thunder stayed perfect after victory over Surrey Storm (Image: Touchline Pics)

Photo by Stephen Gaunt of Touchlinepics.com for Manchester Thunder

Records books were rewritten and wrongs were righted in the latest instalment of Vitality Netball Superleague action – Round 15.

The Grand Final is just 40 days away and it’s time to start marking your cards for what might go down at the Copper Box on June 5.

Tickets are now on sale for the big one so if you haven’t got yours, don’t delay. If you have, kick back and take in some Talking Points.

Thunder hit new heights

Great teams continue to raise the bar and push the upper limits of their sport. Manchester Thunder are a great team.

At Wasps on Saturday, Thunder smashed the Superleague all-time record of goals scored in a single game with a stunning 88-55 victory.

Scoring 24 points in the first and final quarters, Thunder were powered by the ever-reliable eye of Eleanor Cardwell who scored a whopping 48 goals and missed only four shots.

That wasn’t the only milestone that Thunder, whose tempo and accuracy borders on international standard, recorded on their raid of the West Midlands.

The game saw them hit 1000 goals for the season and also marked a century of Thunder appearances for head coach Karen Greig and star shooter Joyce Mvula.

Their clash with an ascendant Team Bath on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, could be an early preview of a spicy semi-final. What’s for certain is that Thunder are the team to beat.

Bath firmly back on track

The club that emerged from Spring Showdown with the most to prove were Team Bath, who had to restate their top four credentials in Round 15.

Their 64-54 loss to Rhinos in Birmingham rankled and the wounds inflicted there were still obvious in the early stages of Saturday’s clash with local rivals Severn Stars.

The first two quarters were fairly even and Bath passed up the chance to go six points ahead at the end of the second. Paige Reed’s withdrawal for Stars actually favoured the home side and they eventually pulled away at the end of the ‘Championship quarter’.

Anna Stembridge’s side are now staring down a crucial clash with Saracens Mavericks on Friday with the two teams level on 24 points.

Mavs will be the fresher of the two sides having sat out Round 15 and Bath will have to compensate with a faster start and a strategy to control the game from the off.

Pulse cling on in Dragons’ lair

Pulse knew exactly what they were walking in to on Monday Night Netball and that the league table lied when it came to the nature of the challenge they would face.

Dragons duly delivered another tenacious display and the superb connection between Georgia Rowe and Lefebre Rademan saw them outscore the visitors 10-8 in the first.

Shaquanda Greene-Noel was incredible in defence, making six turnovers, so good that she was named Player of the Match despite being on the losing side.

You sense Pulse would have lost this game last year. Holding on was a sign of just how far they’ve come and why they could be contending for the title on home soil on June 5.

Lightning build from the back

Strong defences win Championships and that is one of the convincing arguments in favour of Loughborough Lightning retaining their title.

Fran Williams was at her imperious best in Saturday’s 52-46 victory over Strathclyde Sirens, making five interceptions, six deflections and seven turnovers.

Alice Harvey has been one of the success stories of the season, using the Lightning’s tried and tested structure as a springboard to make her one of the league’s biggest rising stars.

They also proved they have the weight of scoring to win games at the highest level in Mary Cholhok’s absence against Sirens. They will run Thunder all the way.

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