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Round 5 review: Thunder continue undefeated run

Manchester Thunder continued their undefeated run in the Netball Super League with a 75-44 win over Surrey Storm in Round 5.

Karen Greig’s side stay top of the league while wins for Severn Stars and Loughborough Lightning put them equal on points in second and third.

Elsewhere, Ine-Marí Venter’s return to the court made sparks fly for Saracens Mavericks and Cardiff Dragons added a second win of the season on home soil.

Thunder roll on

Manchester Thunder made it five wins from five with a dominant 75-44 win over Surrey Storm live on Sky Sports.

Storm led 14-12 after the first quarter but were soon reeled in by Thunder, who put up 19 goals in the second to take control of the contest.

The home side then clicked into a higher gear after the break, scoring 23 and 21 in the third and fourth quarters while restricting Storm to just 10 and 7 respectively as they put out another statement to the rest of the league.

Lois Pearson was once again central to the success. The goal attack scored 32 goals at 97% as well as receiving 32 centre passes while Nat Metcalf produced a huge 55 feeds.

Defensively, Imogen Allison stood out with six gains alongside 33 feeds for a true all-court performance and Storm’s Haniisha Muhameed also impressed with 12 gains and six deflections from goal keeper.

Stars soar ahead

Severn Stars left London Pulse standing as they clinched a 54-47 win to move three points ahead of their opponents in the table.

The two teams were sat equal on nine points, along with Loughborough Lightning, heading into Round 5, but a win for Stars pushed them ahead of their capital competition.

There was little between the two teams, with Berri Neil and Sigi Burger both providing stand out performances in the circle, Burger holding 100% shooting accuracy.

Stars took the lead early on but a fighting comeback from Pulse saw them win the third quarter and equal the fourth.

Pulse defender Funmi Fadoju shone in defence, with nine deflections, seven gains and five interceptions to help her team ease back into contention.

But ultimately, Stars fast-paced start made all the difference, with wing attack Jess Shaw standing out in mid-court with 24 centre passes received and 37 feeds.

Photo credit: @m5films

Venter shines for Mavericks

Ine-Marí Venter shone on her return for Saracens Mavericks, as she put up 51 goals en route to a 60-48 victory over Team Bath.

The South African missed the opening rounds of the season and made a tentative return to action from the bench in recent weeks but was in strong form in the West Country.

Venter fired Mavericks to victory despite Bath taking a 15-12 lead into the second quarter, with Kadeen Corbin impressing in the circle.

Mavericks hit back, restricting the Blue & Gold to just nine and scoring 18 of their own to lead 30-24 at the break before pushing on to victory in the second half.

Georgia Lees continued her strong form this season with 40 feeds, while Mavericks’ Jodie Gibson picked up five gains.

Tash Pavelin once again impressed for Team Bath, with three deflections and five gains.

Photo credit: @Craig Watson

Dragons get past Sirens

Cardiff Dragons notched their second win of the season with a 58-49 victory over Strathclyde Sirens.

Sirens looked much improved on their return to home court after the opening four rounds of the season on the road but were ultimately edged out by Dragons, who came out on top in every quarter.

Hannah Passmore’s razor sharp accuracy was a key weapon for Dragons, with the shooter scoring 47 goals at 96%, while Phillipa Yarranton added a further 11 at 92%.

There were plenty of positives for Sirens, with Emma Love producing 34 feeds at wing attack and young goal keeper Cerys Finn impressing in the circle in the absence of Towera Vinkhumbo, ending the game with six gains, four intercepts and four deflections to her name.

Only Dragons goal keeper Jacqui Newton earned more gains, seven, than 19-year-old Finn who was named Player of the Match.

But it proved not enough to halt Dragons from picking up another three points and to move up to fifth in the table.

Mid-court magic for Lightning

Loughborough Lightning roared past Leeds Rhinos with a 71-55 victory at the David Wallace Arena.

Rhinos could take plenty of positives away from their attack in comparison to Lightning, with approximately 50% less missed shots than their opponents and Joyce Mvula producing the highest shooting success rate of the match.

And with Geva Mentor combating goal shooter Mary Cholhok in the circle, Lightning were unable to capitalise on several opportunities.

However, their strength prevailed and it was the dynamic partnership of Hannah Joseph and Nat Panagarry which propelled Lightning to a comfortable win at home.

With a staggering 61 feeds between them, the duo perfectly linked up with Cholhok to trouble the Rhinos defence and come out on top in every quarter.

Defensive powerhouse Nicola Smith was a standout performer in defence, picking up a Player of the Match award for her physicality on court.

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