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Manchester Thunder

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Loughborough Lightning

Match Details

4th April 2021
Round 9
Studio 001
Report Stats

Match Results

Watch On: Broadcaster Logo

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Team Stats

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Performance Stats

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Performance Stats

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Performance Stats

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Manchester Thunder lay down marker with Loughborough Lightning victory

Manchester Thunder put down a marker with a nine-goal victory over second-placed Loughborough Lightning at Production Park Studio 001 on Sunday afternoon.

Their last clash with Lightning - Thunder’s only home game of the season - saw a narrow score line of 67-64 so Thunder knew they had a tough game on their hands coming into the double header this weekend.

Thunder opened the game with a goal but, as expected, Lightning followed up by equalling. Loughborough managed to break away after converting a couple of turnovers giving Lightning a two-goal lead for the remaining half of the first quarter. Joyce Mvula managed to sneak a goal in just before the whistle blows, the first 12 minutes on a nail-biting 15-14 to Lightning.

Thunder came out with all the energy and effort they could muster in the second quarter, predominantly tightening up the defence. This didn't stop Lightning, however, who began the quarter stretching ahead with a four-goal goal lead but Thunder flicked the switch to put a stop to that.

They equalled then continued to overtake by forcing errors. Now that Almond has figured out Cholhok, she made some great interceptions to stop a few crucial goals. This raised some questions for Lightning who could feel the tides turn and as Half Time approaches, a wider gap was appearing in the score line. Pressure was also being put on Loughborough’s centre third thanks to O’Hanlon’s perfectly aimed passes.

Momentum saw the reigning champions score 17 goals in Quarter 2 to Lightning’s 11, giving a more convincing 5 goal lead to Thunder at 31 – 26 at mid-point in the game.

Entering the third quarter down, Loughborough Lightning increased their pace with some changes to chase the lead Thunder obtained in last quarter. Lightning continued to try and expose Thunder’s weaknesses, trying everything they can to get the ball to Mary Cholhok.

It was still end-to-end with the smallest of errors from each side allowing goals. Lightning managed to catch up on Thunder’s lead but this doesn’t stop goal attack Eleanor Cardwell from smiling. Her composure and calm head amongst the madness certainly set the tone for the rest of the team which is a skill appreciated by Karen Greig. The third quarter ended with a sliver of a goal difference at 42-41 to Thunder.

The final quarter was all to play for as Loughborough kept the game very equal despite Caroline O’Hanlon’s best efforts setting up some great goals and finding the right players. The lack of changes to the team enhanced Karen Greig’s confidence in trusting the process and as a result, the confidence shined through in Thunder’s players as execution in the attacking third showed nothing but strength and determination.

Thunder managed to hold onto a six-goal lead throughout most of the last quarter largely due to every Thunder player excelling in their area. A combination of Almond’s play against Cholhok, Malcolm’s footspeed, O’Hanlon’s amazing set ups and both Cardwell and Mvula’s precision shooting all managed to seal the deal for Thunder, finishing the game on 59-50 where holding Loughborough to 50 goals was quite the feat.

Netball UK layer of the Match O’Hanlon commented: "We finished off last season playing against Loughborough in an epic battle, so we knew it was going to be the same again today, it was up and down every ball, every turnover counted. We struggled in the first couple of quarters to convert those chances, we talked about it at half time and thankfully we were able to implement it there in the last quarter."

Netball UK Player of the Match: Caroline O'Hanlon (Manchester Thunder).

Match report from Manchester Thunder.

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