Karen Greig’s side added the 20-goal win at Belle Vue to their 59-56 result against the Saracens Mavericks on Saturday; the three-time champions remain unbeaten this season and hit the road to face the Bath Netball team next time around
By Emma Thurston
Last update: 02/28/22 7:19 p.m.
Manchester Thunder ruthlessly dismissed Wasps on Monday night and made Shadine van der Merwe his club debut in Round 5 of the Vitality Netball Superleague.
The 71-51 result backed up Thunder’s gutsy three-goal victory over the Saracens Mavericks two days earlier, and for the fifth time this season they have scored 70 or more goals.
For the Wasps, the loss is their fourth of the season as they continue to try to find their feet as a new-look team. They will now return to the training ground and look to improve again, ahead of a trip to Yorkshire in round six.
The Manchester Thunder travel to Team Bath Arena on Friday night and that game will be shown live on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel from 7.30pm.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Round Five Results
|Strathclyde Sirens 48-61 Loughborough Lightning|
|London Pulse 50-37 Celtic Dragons|
|Saracens Mavericks 56-59 Manchester Thunder|
|Severn Stars 45-48 Team Bath Netball|
|Surrey Storm 58-49 Leeds Rhinos Netball|
|Manchester Thunder 71-51 Wasps|
From the first whistle, Karen Greig underscored the versatility within her Thunder squad by starting Nat Metcalf on offense at goal and fending off Eleanor Cardwell at the shooter.
Lois Pearson was given the reins on the wing attack, with experienced international Caroline O’Hanlon starting in the centre.
For Wasps, Mel Mansfield selected a line-up they had already implemented this season, as they looked to bounce back from a sobering 52-35 loss to London Pulse in the fourth round.
Manchester Thunder vs Wasps – Starting Sevens
|GS: Eleanor Cardwell||GS: Rachel Dunn|
|AG: Nat Metcalf||AG: Lucy Parize|
|WA: Lois Pearson||Washington: Iona Christian|
|C: Caroline O’Hanlon||C: Lauren Nicholls|
|WD: Laura Malcolm||WD: Caroline Tarnowski|
|CEO: Millie Sanders||Managing Director: Ella Powell-Davies|
|GK: Kerry Almond||GK: Josie Huckle|
Before the match, Mansfield had said she wanted to see Wasps “attack the game”, however, it was Thunder who made the first move and they looked extremely classy on offense.
Metcalf and Cardwell linked up beautifully, their loaders hit pockets and edges well and once they were there they were accurate in their work.
Rachel Dunn only managed 18 shots on goal against Pulse in the fourth round and again, many of Wasps’ final flows into her were inaccurate. The former champions also seemed shaky on the pitch, which did little to help their confidence.
Manchester Thunder vs Wasps – Quarter by quarter scores
Thunder remained unchanged for the start of the second quarter, while Mansfield made changes at both ends.
Wasps starting goal attack Lucy Parize left the field, Dunn moved in to replace her and Gezelle Allison came in at the shooter. Ella Powell-Davies went to the wing defense and Rachel Fee was tasked with scoring Metcalf.
Initially, Wasps’ changes made the difference, with goalkeeper Josie Huckle doing her best at fullback and Dunn using all of his 16 seasons’ experience to create space up front.
However, mistakes hampered their work and they remained silent on the pitch. In contrast, Thunder thrived on the noise of their home crowd and duly doubled their score.
The two captains shared their views at half-time; Laura Malcolm stressed it was a physical game, while Huckle said the Wasps got “a good rocket ship” after the first quarter and were “paying too much respect” to Thunder.
With a 38-22 halftime lead, Thunder turned to the bench and deployed Van der Merwe for the first time in goal defense.
The South African international had arrived in early January, returning from three years at Down Under, but was unable to appear in court due to injury.
Wasps lifted their energy and tied Thunder for much of the 15-minute third set. As a collective they were more positive, celebrated their wins and were able to find Dunn and Allison up front, with Leah Goss working well in the middle.
At the start of the final quarter, Thunder again made big changes and at one point in the second half six of their seven players were internationals.
Wasps, however, maintained the positivity they found at half-time and worked hard to ensure the energy they took away from Belle Vue was positive with a tight final quarter. However, Thunder have continued to progress and remain the one to beat so far this season.
The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Friday with Team Bath Netball hosting Manchester Thunder. The contest will be streamed live on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel from 7.30pm.