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Team Bath Netball

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Manchester Thunder

Match Details

4th March 2022
Round 6
Team Bath Arena
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Match Results

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First Centre Pass

Laura Malcolm
Laura Malcolm Manchester Thunder View profile

Team Stats

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Manchester Thunder go clear after beating Team Bath in thriller

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Serena Guthrie of Team Bath celebrates at full time during the Vitality Netball Superleague Semi Final match between Team Bath v Manchester Thunder at Copper Box Arena on June 26, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott/Getty Images for England Netball)

A ten-goal swing in the opening stages of the final quarter saw Team Bath Netball slip to defeat against Vitality Superleague table-toppers Manchester Thunder at the Team Bath Arena on Friday night

The Blue & Gold had treated a capacity crowd to some fantastic netball for the first 45 minutes, only for the league leaders to flip the game completely on its head in the next five minutes as they turned a 42-39 deficit at the end of Quarter 3 into a 49-42 lead.

Team Bath rallied once again in the closing stages but the damage had been done and it was Thunder who left with a 57-53 victory to make it seven wins in a row at the start of the 2022 season.

Past history between the teams suggested this would be a close-fought contest and so it proved in the first quarter, which went goal for goal for the opening five minutes. It was two interceptions from England defender Layla Guscoth which provided the platform for Team Bath to edge ahead, which – with Sophie Drakeford-Lewis in fantastic shooting form – they took full advantage of to move four goals clear.

The home side were fizzing the ball around confidently but Thunder seized on a couple of errors to make it a one-goal game again at the end of the first quarter, Team Bath holding a narrow 16-15 advantage.

The second quarter started positively for Team Bath as they regained their four-goal advantage but after that it became a tight, tense affair as both sides cranked up the defensive pressure. The hosts made a couple of changes in mid-court, with the Shaw sisters – Jess and Rachel – coming on at C and WA respectively, while Betsy Creak also entered the fray at GS as Team Bath adapted to the challenge being posed by Thunder, who once again closed to one goal with a minute of the half to go.

However, the Shaw sisters combined brilliantly to force a vital turnover that had the crowd roaring and Team Bath took full advantage to go into the interval with a 29-26 lead.

Thunder made some changes of their own at half-time, with player of the match Laura Malcolm moving to WD and Caroline O’Hanlon taking her place at C, and they had an immediate impact as they rattled off the first four goals of the third quarter, only for Team Bath to respond with three of their own.

It was a start that set the tone for an absorbing period of play that saw mini momentum swings in both directions, with Team Bath stretching their advantage to six goals at one point thanks to some fantastic feeds and finishing under pressure from the Shaws, Drakeford-Lewis and Creak.

Home debutant Phumza Maweni, Guscoth and Tash Pavelin were also in fine defensive form but some attacking changes from Thunder helped them rally once again and they closed the gap once more, with the quarter finishing all square on 13-13 and Team Bath’s lead remaining at three.

However, within five minutes of the restart, that lead had turned into a seven-goal deficit as a pumped-up Thunder side – inspired by some wonderful finishing from Eleanor Cardwell – scored ten times without answer to turn the game completely on its head.

With captain Allison back at centre and Kim Borger returning at shooter, Team Bath cleared their heads and fought their way back into the match with a four-goal burst of their own to have the crowd on their feet. However, try as they might, they couldn’t cut the gap any further as Thunder saw out their seventh win of the season.

Anna Stembridge, Team Bath Netball Superleague Head Coach: “It’s a hard one to articulate really. We were great for three-quarters of the game and I’m hugely proud of the performance we put out, it was some of our best netball so far this season.

“We won two of the four quarters and drew the third but unfortunately they’ve won it in those five minutes of the last quarter. To give them a run like we did, it’s just not OK. We stopped doing the things that had worked well for us and allowed them to go out too far.”

Imogen Allison, Team Bath: “It’s disappointing. We did well to be leading the game and we believed we could see it out but they went on a run we just couldn’t stop. We need to see how we stop those runs against us.

“We can take a lot of positives from the game, though, and the first three quarters are definitely something we should be proud of.”

Match report provided by Team Bath