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Round 8 review: Thunder stay top with big Wembley win

Manchester Thunder defeated Saracens Mavericks 70-46 at Wembley Arena to stay top by just one goal.

Loughborough Lightning had moved into the provisional lead with their own win on Friday night but Thunder came roaring back in front of a big crowd in the capital.

Severn Stars secured a huge win over Surrey Storm as London Pulse triumphed over Strathclyde Sirens and Leeds Rhinos picked up a victory on the road at Team Bath.

Lighting beat out Dragons

Loughborough Lightning defeated Cardiff Dragons for their seventh win of the season, taking their Friday night match-up 69-41.

Credit: Flynn Duggan

With a starting seven full of internationals, the hosts established a quick lead at the Sir David Wallace Arena.

The defensive trio of Alice Harvey, Nicola Smith and Beth Cobden stifled the Dragons attack to establish an 18-goal lead at half-time.

Hannah Joseph impressed a wing attack, producing 27 feeds while Dragons’ Khanyisa Chawane, playing at centre was a thorn in Lightning’s side.

The South African produced three gains and one intercept as the Dragons ended the game with their strongest quarter but it was not enough to stop the defending champions getting their fifth victory in a row.

Shooting success fires Pulse to win

Berri Neil and Olivia Tchine both shot at over 90% as London Pulse defeated Strathclyde Sirens 66-45.

Goal shooter Tchine missed just one of her 32 shots, as Neil provided 28 goals with replacement shooter Nichole Taljaard also impressing in her cameo with a perfect seven goals.

Pulse were just as strong defensively withstanding a second-quarter fightback that saw the hosts go into the break with a nine-goal advantage.

Funmi Fadoju produced 15 deflections across the game with five gains while for Dragons, Hannah Leighton impressed at wing defence with two intercepts and three gains.

Rhinos rise highest

In the battle of Blue and Gold, Leeds Rhinos came out on top with a 67-51 win over Team Bath.

Rhinos put up 21 goals in the first quarter to establish an eight-goal lead that was further extended to 15 at the half-time interval.

Joyce Mvula scored 54 of Rhinos’ 67 goals, missing only two shots while Zoe Davies was everywhere at goal defence.

Credit: Mark Harris

The Australian collected six gains and five deflections, but Rhinos had to weather a fightback from the hosts in the second half.

Team Bath lost the third quarter by just one goal before drawing the last as replacement shooter Sloan Burton impressed from the bench with Jayda Pechova delivering a strong defensive performance.

Severn Stars beat the Storm

Severn Stars flexed their muscles in a 72-55 win over last season’s semi-finalists Surrey Storm a move back up to third.

The Worcester side controlled the game with decisive second and third quarters making sure of the victory.

Sigi Burger scored 49 of Stars’ goals, missing only three while Jess Shaw was a fiend at the feed, providing 46.

Jas Brown was at her best at goal keeper with eight gains while her opposite number Haniisha Muhameed was kept busy producing three deflections as Storm won the last quarter 17-15 to end with a consolation.

Manchester steal Maverick’s thunder

Manchester Thunder put on a complete performance in front of the 2,573-strong Wembley crowd to triumph 70-46 against Saracens Mavericks.

The four-time champions opened up a 13-goal lead at half-time which meant that Mavericks’ strong final quarter had no bearing on the outcome.

Elmerè van der Berg put up 38 of Thunder’s goals but it was in defence where the difference was made.

Shadine van der Merwe produced five gains and two inflections as Thunder got inventive as the South African was lifted up by goal keeper Josie Huckle to deny Ine-Mari Venter a goal.

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