Saturday saw Lightning travel to the Thunderdome, home of Manchester Thunder. It was going to be a tough match, facing up against last season’s champions but the new face Lightning squad have been training well and were ready for the challenge.
The first quarter saw Coach Atkinson start a familiar line up of Maweni, Forbes and Steadman at GK, GD and WD respectively. Captain Henry donned the C bib with Joseph out on the wing and Holtzhausen and Peace took their place in the circle at GA and GS. Thunder started well and sunk the first goal. Lightning, determined to keep up fought hard and half way through the quarter brought the score even to five all. A fast, dynamic second half saw Thunder extend their lead to finish the first quarter 19-13.
Coach Atkinson made changes to the line-up; Forbes moved back to GK, Massey came on at GD and Joseph and Henry switched midcourt positions to C and WA respectively. Lightning, determined to start the second quarter strong, sunk their first centre pass and continued to pull the score line closer together, bringing Thunder’s lead down to five goals. Thunder answered with some efficient play of their own and increased their lead back out to seven goals, finishing the second quarter 34-27.
Start of the third quarter saw no changes to the Lightning line up. Both teams came out firing, though Thunder’s defensive pressure paid off and they increased their lead by a couple of points early on. Lightning continued to focus on their own attacking strategy but Thunder’s experience showed and they finished up the third quarter with a 50-38 lead.
Fourth quarter saw Cooper come off the bench and done the WD bib. Walker came on to GA and Henry and Joseph switched back to their starting positions of C and WA. Thunder started on a roll with four unanswered goals as Lightning took their time to settle the new players into the match. Lightning made a comeback with some efficient play of their own and closed the score back up to a fourteen point game. During the final minutes of the match, Lightning stepped up their intensity and finished the match with three unanswered goals. However, Thunder’s consistency throughout the match paid off and they took the win 68-52.
Coach Atkinson’s comments after the match:
As a coach you are never satisfied with a loss but it was pleasing to see the fight the girls showed against Thunder who deservedly sit at the top of the league. They stuck to task for longer, ensuring every single quarter was competitive.
I was particularly pleased with how Rach Forbes and Lauren Massey combined in the defensive circle making Thunders attack work hard for every goal. The aim is to take this performance into our next big clash down in Bath on Friday night!
Our next home match is our SKY showdown against Yorkshire Jets. Limited tickets still available so don’t miss out on the live action and book online now.