R1: Thunder Vs Dragons
Manchester Thunder started the 2022 Vitality Netball Super League season with a bang, winning 79-53.
Celtic Dragons came on court with a whole new rebrand, a number of new players and a new coach. They had a new defensive line up that a confident Thunder team had to learn the style of. However, with 9 changes out of 12, Thunder could use the new Celtic connections to their advantage, with their player relationships remaining solid and fresh additions such as Yomi Eza-Wilson, starting at Goal Defence, showing promise in the Season Opener.
Thunder started strong whilst Celtic Dragons tried to keep up, scoring one goal for every two from Thunder. Caroline O’Hanlon received a caution for intentional obstruction at the end of the first quarter as Dragons tried to close the widening gap. As the game went on, Celtic Dragons became more familiar with each other and in the second quarter they fought hard, netting 16 to Thunder’s 18. The Dragon’s newly signed GK, Shaquanda Greene-Noel was incredibly emotive and made some incredible interceptions throughout the game however, she received a caution for persistent contact just before the half time whistle as Thunder took a 38-29 lead into the interval.
It was in the third quarter where Celtic were thunderstruck with a massive 24 goals scored by the Black and Yellows to the Dragon’s 10. 19-year-old young gun Yasmin Roebuck came on, making a strong debut, whilst seasoned campaigners, Eleanor Cardwell and Joyce Mvula caused constant problems for the opposition. Just before the end of the third quarter, Cardwell received a caution of intentional obstruction.
In the final quarter Thunder continued their relentless stride. Emma Rayner and Yasmin Roebuck came on their for debuts as Thunder pushed the scoring further, finishing the game with an impressive score of 79-53.
Player of the Match Eleanor Cardwell expressed her pleasure after the game saying; “We knew it would be a good season if we gelled together; I can’t wait to see where the team can get to and how we can build week on week.
“I can’t wait to get to a home game and have all the Thunder fans around. We know how loud they are and I can’t wait to see them.”