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Decisive third quarter the difference, says Pulse captain Everitt

London Pulse captain Zara Everitt hailed a decisive third quarter as her side booked their place in the 2023 Netball Super League Grand Final with a 55-42 victory over Surrey Storm.

Pulse took a three-goal lead into half-time but were even more ruthless after the break to put the tie to bed, relentlessly winning ball and cutting through the Storm defence to stretch their lead to 10 by the end of the quarter.

The result sealed a chance for Pulse to clinch a maiden Netball Super League title in Sunday’s Grand Final, and Everitt has full faith in her side’s ability to finish the job.

“It was a really tough start and we knew that we were going to have to really grind it out against Storm,” said Everitt.

“That’s what we did, we were really patient with ball throughout the first half and then we just turned the screw in the third quarter and we could really enjoy the second half.

“It is a really exciting opportunity for all of us, and not a position that many of us have been in before.

“We are just excited to enjoy the experience and show what we have got as a team and hopefully we can lift the trophy at the end of the day.

“It would be an incredible achievement for the whole team to lift that trophy, we have such a mixture of youth and experience, that’s what makes us special.”

Pulse suffered just their second defeat of the season against Saracens Mavericks on Monday, but showed little signs of that result knocking them off their stride.

Goal defender Funmi Fadoju was once again the star of the show, producing an eye-watering 19 deflections to earn Player of the Match while Olivia Tchine and Berri Neil combined well in the circle.

And Everitt reflected that Monday’s loss was perhaps the right wake-up call ahead of the biggest weekend of their season.

“The message at half-time was just to stick to task,” she added. “We went back to playing our own brand of netball which we missed a bit on Monday, and we had the motivation from Monday to really push on today.

“It was good to get rid of any complacency, if we did have any of that, and really remind ourselves that we have got to work hard for 60 minutes if we want to beat any team in this league.”

While it was jubilation for Pulse, it was dejection for Surrey Storm whose return to the semi-final stage after seven years away ended in disappointment.

But player-head coach Mikki Austin was defiant in defeat and insisted her side will be back to challenge at the top again next season.

“We always knew today was going to be pretty tough and we were incredibly classy for 30 minutes’ worth of netball,” she said.

“I couldn’t fault where we were at half-time, that was exactly where we wanted it to be but we knew it would be hard to sustain that for a full 60 minutes and it was.

“I can’t fault the work rate, their effort and application to get here and they gave it everything today. We didn’t have enough this year, next year we will.

“We have to digest this season, to go from seventh to fourth in a season is something that when the dust has settled we will reflect on and be really proud of. That was exactly the trajectory that we wanted to be on.

“It is about us trying to continue the momentum into next year. Storm is genuinely a really great place to be so hopefully we complete a signing window with a squad that is absolutely gunning not just for top four, but that to be the bare minimum.”

The Netball Super League Grand Final is being shown live on Sky Sports Arena and YouTube from 1.45pm on Sunday 11 June.

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