Superleague: Manchester Thunder overcame Team Bath
Last Updated: 08/02/14 11:02am
Manchester Thunder won their first match of the new ZEO Netball Superleague season with a 54-41 victory over Team Bath.
Helen Housby led the way with 30 points from a possible 33, as Thunder soon established their authority and built an early 7-1 lead until Team Bath took a time out to settle their nerves.
The Thunder defence were on top with several turnovers from Kerry Almond, Emma Dovey and Laura Malcolm, and found shooters Helen Housby and Krista Enziano all too easily, and even though more shots were missed than should have been, they managed to lead at the end 15-8.
With no changes going into the second quarter it was tit for tat at the start, until Bath found some flow in their play finding shooter Rosie Allison with ease.
Thunder took a quick time out to regroup but Bath had the pressure on and got the lead down to just two. It wasn't long though before Thunder found their form again led by captain Sara Bayman.
Thunder were having to go backwards to come forwards but ably assisted by defenders Malcolm and Dovey to filter the ball back through. The outlet to shooter Enziano was again proving fruitful for Thunder and they built it to an eight goal lead by the half time break 29-21.
"As captain you want to lead the way and show your team what you want from them, and it's a good base for the season."
Team Bath made changes going into the third quarter switching Serena Guthie and Mia Ritchie to combat the influence of Bayman in the middle. Initially the change had an impact with Guthrie making a nuisance of herself disrupting the Thunder flow.
Bath were back in the game helped by four missed shots from Enziano but Thunder found their composure with Almond putting in some stout defending. Thunder again steadily piled on the pressure with Housby starring in attack. The quarter ended 40-32 to Thunder.
Thunder started the final quarter determined not to let Bath back in the game, they were stronger than their counterparts and with great performances with Almond at the back, Bayman in the middle and Housby up front.
Housby put in a phenomenal performance for a 19-year-old, with an overall 90% success rate, overshadowing England captain Pamela Cookey, who limped off toward the end.
Thunder had too much for Bath who looked out of sorts with no real options available on the bench. With the final score of 54-41 to Thunder, Tracey Neville's girls were back on track and looking more like a team capable of winning back the Superleague trophy they relinquished to Bath last season.
"We are pleased to come away with the win, it's a difficult place to come," said player of the match Sara Bayman.
"As captain you want to lead the way and show your team what you want from them, and it's a good base for the season.
"We really needed to win this game to take the pressure of us and we didn't want to go into the Mavericks game having lost our first two."