Manchester Thunder get new Netball Superleague campaign off to great start at Yorkshire Jets

By Debbie Hallas

Manchester Thunder came out on top in the war of the roses in the superb new 500-seater arena at Leeds Metropolitan University by a fourteen goal margin.

The Yorkshire side were clearly up for the game against the reigning champions and they were cheered on by a noisy home crowd.

They quickly found their range to shooter Jo Walker who slotted the ball away with a little bit too much ease leading her team to a quarter time advantage 12-11.

Thunder Head Coach Tracey Neville made some early changes bringing on the experienced Sam Holt to goal keeper and Rachel Henry to wing attack.

This changed the dynamics of the game with Thunder finding their flow and Henry making an early impact.

Wing defence Laura Malcolm stepped up with two classy interceptions to further Thunder’s cause as they overturned Jets lead and started to build their own leading 29-24 at the half time break.

The third quarter saw Aussie Janelle Lawson revert to her more familiar goal attack position with Neville giving 16 year old shooter Alice Travis her Superleague debut.

There were flashes of what were to come from this partnership outwitting the Jets defence on several occasions.

The Thunder attack still struggled to find real flow with the spoiling tactics of Jets, but battled through with character led by captain Sara Bayman and they increased their lead to 11 goals, 45-34.

In the final quarter Thunder shuffled their pack once again with Emma Dovey swopping patches with Sam Holt, Eleanor Cardwell was reintroduced at wing defence with Malcolm moving to wing attack.

Finally Krista Enziano came on at shooter for her first taste of the game at shooter. Dovey proved probably the most effective defender against the height of Walker although Jets were taking more chances in trying to claw back the lead from Thunder.

But the fight was in vain as Thunder further increased their lead finishing 14 goals clear to chalk up a win in their first outing of the Netball Superleague 2013.

After the win, Neville said: “I think the first game is always hard but it was great to be able to get everyone out on court. We were rusty but to win convincingly as we did was a credit to the 11 players which took to the court.”

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