Netball Super League: Unbeaten Surrey Storm regain top spot, Manchester Thunder bounce back

  • by Jess Anderson
  • bbc sport

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The Storm finished seventh last season, but sits on top after winning all five games this season.

The Surrey Storm came from behind to maintain their unbeaten run in the Super League with a hard-fought 68-56 win over Saracens Mavericks.

The Mavericks led by two at halftime, but the Storm held them to just 22 second-half goals.

“We were in the locker room for the first half,” Storm player and coach Mikki Austin said.

The Mavericks fatigued as the game wore on, having lost 68-51 to the Loughborough Lightning on Friday.

The win saw the Storm reclaim the top spot in the Lightning Super League table, though the Austin team has played one more game.

“The Mavericks are a classy team and it’s not easy to get rid of them. We had to stay mentally and physically in the competition and I was very proud of our recovery in the third quarter,” Austin told Sky Sports.

The Storm silenced Mavericks shooter Ine-Mari Venter in the second period and Austin stuck with his favorite shooting combination of Proscovia Peace and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis to rack up the goals on the other end: Peace scored 45 and Drakeford -Lewis added 23.

Elsewhere, the defending champions Manchester Thunder bounced back from their loss to the Storm last week to inflict a first defeat of the season on London Pulse in the Copper Box.

Thunder started well, scoring 32 goals to Pulse’s 24 in a composed first half that gave the home side plenty to do in the second half, despite a much-improved performance.

South African sharpshooter Lenize Potgieter scored all 38 of her tries, while captain Natalie Metcalf dictated play at half court as the Thunder’s experience shone through.

On Friday, Severn Stars lost sight of their game against Celtic Dragons with a dominating 16-6 performance in the third quarter to record a comfortable 61-40 victory.

The Bath side also survived a late push from the Strathclyde Sirens to overcome a close contest 49-48, their first win of the season.

“I would choose Williams for the World Cup”

The Lightning’s Fran Williams continued to claim his spot on England’s World Cup squad as his team beat the Mavericks 68-51 on Friday.

The defenseman turned over seven turnovers and earned five interceptions in the Lightning’s fourth win of the season.

“I love playing in this unit, we work very well together. They are all interceptions for the team,” he said.

Williams linked up well with midfielders Hannah Joseph and Natalie Panagarry to win the ball up the pitch to sharpshooter Mary Cholhok, who scored 52 goals from 59 shots.

“We have a lot of room to grow, we are building game after game. We have so many different styles and combinations and real strength in this side,” Williams told Sky Sports.

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Williams has 28 caps for England and represented the Roses at the 2019 World Cup.

The 25-year-old has been awarded player of the match in three of the Lightning’s four games this season, and her impressive form continues to show England manager Jess Thirlby why he should travel to South Africa in July.

Williams did not appear in England’s Commonwealth Games squad last year, but withdrawals from the tournament mean the positions in the Roses’ defense are on the line.

Manchester Thunder manager Karen Greig commented on Sky Sports: “Fran is a very down-to-earth player. People don’t realize how effective she really is, but she’s starting to win a lot of the ball.”

“She works very hard, she reads the game very well. Right now I would pick her for the World Cup.”

“We’ve got a long way to go, but he’s definitely raising his hand and saying ‘pick me’.”

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