Manchester Thunder deliver perfect regular season after 20th Superleague victory
Karen Greig's side beat Loughborough Lightning 71-63 at Belle Vue in Round 20 of the competition on Monday night; they now face Team Bath Netball in the semi-finals on Friday evening, live on Sky Sports; the Grand Final takes place on Sunday at the Copper Box Arena in London
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 31/05/22 9:25am
Manchester Thunder secured their 20th win of the Vitality Netball Superleague season against Loughborough Lightning and go into the semi-finals unbeaten.
On a home court at Belle Vue, the outfit's trademark tenacity and strength in depth enabled them to get over the line 71-63 against last year's champions.
International shooter Joyce Mvula picked up the player of the match award, with Emilia Roscoe and Millie Sanders sharing the goal defence bib in the absence of Shadine van der Merwe.
Lightning's head coach Victoria Burgess pointed to a few errors in decision-making which ultimately halted their chances of ending Thunder's impressive regular-season run.
- Vitality Netball Superleague 2022: Fixtures, coverage and results
- Ratnapala leaves director of netball role at Saracens Mavericks
"The team have been unbelievable," Karen Greig, Thunder's head coach, told Sky Sports. "I feel like I say the same thing every week, but these players are a credit to themselves.
"The team talk before the game was to leave nothing out there. Yes, we knew that we were going to finish top of the league anyway, but it was about how we went about that in order to take us into the semi-finals on Friday."
Vitality Netball Superleague Fixtures
|Friday at 6pm||Manchester Thunder vs Team Bath Netball||Live on Sky Sports Action|
|Friday at 8pm||Loughborough Lightning vs London Pulse||Live on Sky Sports Action|
|Sunday at 1.45pm||Third place play-off||Live on Sky Sports Arena|
|Sunday at 3.45pm||Superleague Grand Final||Live on Sky Sports Arena|
Thunder will take to their home court again at Belle Vue to face Team Bath Netball in the first of the two Superleague semi-finals on Friday,
"We've got a massive job to do over the next four days to get bodies fit and make sure that we put a really strong game plan in place," Greig added.
"You don't want to get beaten in the next match [the semi-final], that's the worst one isn't it!? The semi-final is the hardest game to get through and we know it's going to be tough.
"It's going to be pedal to the metal this week, hopefully we can do a job and then come home with the trophy."
Loughborough Lightning will be hosting the other semi-final at the Sir David Wallace Arena later on Friday evening. Last year's champions will be taking on first-time semi-finalists London Pulse.
The Grand Final takes place at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday, with coverage live on Sky Sports from 3.45pm. The match will also be streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel and the third-place play-off will be shown from 1.45pm.