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Netball - 03. April 2011.

Thunder control the dragons in the Fiat Netball Superleague

After scoring their first defeat of the 2011 FIAT Netball Superleague
season in the week's thrilling TV clash with Mavericks, Northern
Thunder responded with a carefully crafted win over the Celtic Dragons
that left the visitors unhappy with some of the whistle-blowing in the

Melissa Hyndman, the head coach of the Dragons, gave her response to
the game in one short word, but that’s not enough for a match report.
It was the match officials who incurred the Kiwi’s wrath. “I had a go
at the umpires after that and I wish Bill Allexander had been here so
I could have spoken to him.

“That was a bull rush out there nothing like netball. I’m so
disappointed, we went out there to have a good game.” Thunder had
clearly prepared well for the game neutralising the threat of Cato in
front of goal - the Grenadian had fewer than half of her normal
attempts on goal.

Kerry Almond had a superb game.  Both teams took a little while to
suss each other out - the lead swapped hands a few times in the first
quarter but then Almond was  finding ways to intercept any less than
perfect passes into the statuesque Lottysha Cato; her bench stats
showed that six of those turnovers were then converted at the other end.

Hyndman felt her shooter was the victim of inconsistent umpiring and
was whistled out of the game. “What do players have to do to get
protection? Swear at the ref or punch players in the head? Lynsey
(Armitage) played well but was allowed to get balls that Timmy was
being penalised for, the umpires let her down and took the game away
from us.”

Thunder's head coach Mike Greenwood was impressed with his defender:
"Kerry (Almond) had a stormer against a big goal shooter; she knew she
was not going to get the ball every time, but put constant pressure on
and made the shooter make mistakes.”

And there were mistakes from the visitors who knew they weren’t good
enough against a team pushing for top spot this season.  “We had a
really good debrief,” sais Hyndman, “and the message has finally got
through with the team. They were really “cheesed” off.”

Thunder forced errors from the Dragons as they kept a pretty clean
sheet themselves. Some top quality passes from England pairing Jade
Clarke and Sara Bayman saw the ball launched from the centre third
into the circle.

No Karen Greig on court she was keeping note of the stats and resting
her knee after tweaking it in the televised game against Mavericks on
Monday. Ice and a physiotherapist’s careful eye are being used to
speed healing and get her back in the action as soon as possible.

Thunder’s boss Mike Greenwood was a happy man at the end of the night:
“The game was easier than we thought and after Monday it was a
brilliant bounce back. Our young shooter Kathryn Turner stepped up
today and was fully involved throughout the game.”

  Today has rounded off a tough nine day and three wins out of four
ain’t that bad.

"We're looking forward to causing a storm down at Surrey next week.”

Mavericks get Team North work-out

Hertfordshire Mavericks had a great start to the week with a battling
win over top of the table rivals Northern Thunder in the FIAT Netball
Superleague’s TV game.  Their second game in six days, a win over Team
Northumbria, was less satisfying for the head coach who is always
candid about her own side’s performance.

“Team Northumbria were pretty competitive as it was always going to
be, but we were expecting a high level of performance and it wasn’t
there. We expect more from ourselves.”

Nine goals more than their opponents in the first fifteen minutes put
a solid gap between the sides.  Mavericks had some new faces in the
starting line-up, Sasha Corbin for one has been coming on later in
games as a high-impact substitute, Hazel Schofield was also on from
the start and Vicklyn Joseph had a pop under the post from the

Team Northumbria’s young guns have been slow in getting into games,
haemorrhaging goals heavily to their opponents and failing to convert
their own chances; it was a familiar start against Mavericks but there
are green shoots showing in the Team North nursery as the shooting
stats showed a massive improvement Darcie Worsdale should be pleased
with her day’s work.

There was a very positive mental attitude on court from the home side
who appeared to go out, enjoy the game, and bank some experience
against some of the FIAT Netball Superleague’s high-fliers - it was a
good day to get court time.

Maggie Jackson was glad to have had the chance to run through
different combinations using her very strong squad. “We are always
looking  to raise the bar,” she told us as she geared up for the trip
back south, “there is good depth in this squad but we have to maintain
it and although my players are working really hard we need more

“We need to learn how to adapt more to the style of our opponents, but
I must say Tracey (Neville) is doing a good job at Team Northumbria.”

Surrey catch 'Cats napping

It’s proving a tough season for the Glasgow Wildcats in the 2011 FIAT
Netball Superleague, bottom of the table, no points on the board and a
lack of big match experience in the squad to help bring on the younger
players.  The results haven’t been going their way and another defeat
was adding to the list with Surrey Storm winning Round 13, but the
performances are improving

Wildcats captain Claire Brownie is one of the few “older hands” in the
side and hoping to bring on a new generation of talent that will be
around to represent Scotland at the next Commonweath Games, but the
‘Cats are building from scratch.

“It was a hard fought match today but it allowed our young talent to
further experience netball at this level.” At times the netball was
top quality, and it was good physical contest across the court, but it
was also scrappy and patchy on both sides.

Surrey are struggling to find a sharp-shooter to support Rachel Dunn’s
efforts in the circle and Tamsin Greenway’s stats can be filed under F
for Forget  - while her efforts at wing-attack would be popped in a
much higher drawer all together.

She was up against Wildcat’s debutante Erin McQuarrie who looked eager
to impress against her international opponent. It was an entertaining
battle to watch from the sideline.

Defensively Storm were the better team and this freed the attackers to
do their worst (er… best?).  Mary Beardwood, head coach of Surrey
liked what she saw: “I’m happy with the performance and pleased to see
that we got 60 on the board.  It was also great to get the changes in
there I think it shows the depth of our squad.”

Glasgow should be pleased with the way they acquitted themselves but
really need to nail more of their attempts on goal if they are to to
challenge the other teams in Superleague.

Claire Brownie in her coaching role tucked away a few more notes from
the match but was please to get another new face ‘blooded’, “It was a
fine debut performance from Erin McQuarrie,” she said. And so it was.
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Sharni Layton retires from all forms of netball
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