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Taken during the Netball Super League game between Manchester Thunder and Loughborough Lightning at the Belle Vue Arena, Manchester, England on 3rd March 2023.

Natalie Metcalf's Manchester Thunder claimed bragging rights in the northern derby

Round 6 produced derby delight, a war of attrition and a back-in-business win.

Manchester Thunder were the victors in the Battle of the North, and league leaders Surrey Storm brushed off their first defeat of the season to down Team Bath.

Then on Monday, London Pulse chipped away at Strathclyde Sirens to continue their fine run of form.

High-flying Storm back to winning ways

Surrey Storm got back to their winning mentality with an emphatic 80-54 victory over Team Bath Netball.

The scoreline did not necessarily reflect the fight that Team Bath put up over the first three quarters, with the home side making their opponents work hard in a closely contested opening 15 minutes.

Asha Francis’ side went toe-to-toe with Storm in a nail-biting first quarter in which they raced to a 3-0 lead.

Kadeen Corbin was the playmaker throughout, constantly challenging former teammate and Surrey goal defence Layla Guscoth.

But their challenge started to fall short as metronomic shooting from Proscovia Peace saw the visitors edge ahead to a 39-31 lead at half-time.

It was Caroline Mtukule who led the charge in the third quarter as the Malawi captain made her NSL debut for Team Bath and introduced herself with a stunning interception.

Amy Flanagan shone in midcourt for Storm, with two interceptions, six deflections and seven turnovers for the centre.

Her performance was just one crowning jewel in a roaring final 15 minutes for the league leaders as they stormed ahead in the final quarter to seal their biggest win of the season to date.

Thunder win the northern derby

In the War of the Roses, it was Manchester Thunder who came out on top with a 67-52 win over Leeds Rhinos.

In another close first quarter, the scores stood level at 17-17 after 15 minutes at Leeds Beckett.

Rhinos had suffered several injuries leading up to the game, with Paige Reed making her first start as goal shooter in place of Ellie Bird.

Lois Pearson made the difference for Thunder in the second quarter, winning a turnover and giving her team a vital two-goal lead.

Pearson continued to be a key player for the Manchester side, whilst on the other side of the court, a strong link between Kerry Almond and Shadine van der Merwe provided an impenetrable defensive wall and the defending champions began to grow in confidence.

The visitors came out swinging after the half-time break, scoring 22 goals in a fast and loose third quarter to increase their advantage to 54-41.

In a feisty final quarter, Rhinos continued to fight and stifled their opponents’ attacking verve but in the end it was Thunder who took home the bragging rights.

Pulse wear down stubborn Sirens to go second

A week after ending Surrey Storm’s unbeaten record this season, London Pulse went second with an attritional 63-53 victory over Strathclyde Sirens.

In front of a sell-out crowd at the Copper Box Arena, Funmi Fadoju’s defensive prowess came to the fore in the early stages to help Pulse to a narrow 16-15 lead after the first quarter.

The 20-year-old went on to make 12 deflections, eight turnovers and two intercepts over the course of the match to limit the visitors’ attacking forays in conjunction with Halimat Adio.

At the other end of the court, Olivia Tchine fired Pulse to a 32-29 scoreline by the break.

Her opposite number, Bethan Goodwin, finished with the same haul of 38 goals as Tchine, but the difference maker was goal attack substitute Berri Neil who is having her best season in terms of production to date.

Neil added 15 to her career-best 100-goal tally on Monday after entering the fray at half-time.

But Sirens kept within touching distance in the third quarter, another two-goal deficit leaving them just five off the team from the capital with 15 minutes to play.

Pulse finished with a flourish, Neil landing a late long shot to make it 63-53.

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