Karen Greig says consistency will be key as Manchester Thunder finish pre-season on high
Thunder beat Surrey Storm 72-50; Loughborough Lightning see off Wasps Netball 55-52 in anniversary match
Last Updated: 11/02/20 9:58am
Manchester Thunder's Karen Greig believes that "consistency" is going to be key as the reigning champions move into a new Vitality Netball Superleague season.
Greig highlighted the quality that she wants to see from her side after their final pre-season victory at the weekend.
Thunder put the cherry on the top of a productive pre-season campaign with their 72-50 result against Surrey Storm in Oldham.
The reigning champions built their win through a strong second quarter where they enhanced a four-goal lead into a 19-goal advantage at half-time.
Greig's side capitalised on turnovers whilst Storm missed the presence of Karyn Bailey, who had left the court due to a collision in the circle.
The second half saw both sides rotate players but Thunder never relinquished their advantage and were driven on by the work of defenders Lauren Nqwira and Emma Dovey.
"They threw a lot at us and gave us a lot to think about," Greig told Thunder's website after their victory.
"It was great that every quarter we could make changes and try combinations because we know as we go through the season we are going to come up against different styles of attack and defence.
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Good final pre season run out with the @thundernetball girls yesterday. Thanks to all who came to support 😘😘 It seems like we've been waiting forever but now we can say... BRING ON THE 2020 @netballsl SEASON!!!!! 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾 . . . #thundernetball #readytorumble #manchesterthunder #netball #netballteam #netballsuperleague #vnsl2020 #preseason #netballsquad #squadgoals
"We were a little slow to start the quarters. You expect new combinations to take a little bit to bed in, but five or six minutes really isn't good enough so that is something we are going to have to address in training over the coming weeks.
"When we were good, we were good. Consistency will be the key going into the season."
Afterwards, Surrey Storm's director of netball Mikki Austin took to social media to hail a 'great test' for the visitors. She shared that their journey is continuing and finished with well-wishes for Bailey.
Happy with 3 Qs, not so happy with 1, but that’s what pre season is about. Lots of learnings in all combos and a great test against the reigning champs in @thundernetball The journey continues. P.S @KarynLBailey is ok 💪🏼💥💙 #StormRises https://t.co/1HTXWwghE3— Mikki Austin ⚓️ (@mikki_austin) February 8, 2020
Elsewhere around the country, Loughborough Lightning used their pre-season match against Wasps Netball to celebrate their 15th anniversary and finished their day's work with a 55-52 victory.
As it was in the league last season, the match was a close-fought contest and it took a steely resolve from the home side clinch victory.
After going into the opening pause 13-11 down, Sara Bayman's side also used the second quarter to get on top. The franchise then turned a narrow 26- 25 half-time lead into their three-goal victory.
Sam May, playing against her former team, stood out in defence. Her presence will be a key part of their 2020 campaign as she's arrived with a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. At the other end, Ella Clark and Mary Cholhok resumed their partnership in the shooting circle.
What a match! @Wasps_Netball took us to the final minute but Lightning's Mary Cholhok and Ella Clark scored with ease.— Loughborough Lightning Netball (@LboroLightning) February 8, 2020
A few crucial moments from captain Nat Panagarry sealed off our 1️⃣5️⃣th year celebrations in style!
1️⃣⚡11 - 13 🐝
2️⃣⚡26- 25 🐝
3️⃣⚡41- 39 🐝
4️⃣⚡55 - 52🐝 pic.twitter.com/Oj29nc4Ep8
Three other Superleague outfits - Celtic Dragons, London Pulse and Team Bath Netball - took part in a tri-tournament at Ebbw Vale, with all matches taking the form of four quarters of 10 minutes.
Team Bath came away from the trip with two wins from two; a 12-goal victory over Pulse followed by a 22-goal result against the home side.
Not for the first time this pre-season, Anna Stembridge's outfit were ignited by the work of Kim Commane. She has looked incredibly sharp throughout pre-season and is set to enter the new term in great form.
Elsewhere in their line-up, there was more court-time for their new South African international Khanyisa Chawane too.
London Pulse's work was described as 'tidy' by their head coach Samantha Bird and with an exciting blend of youth and experience, she is looking for them to turn heads at the season opener on February 22.
Vitality Netball Superleague - Season Opener on Sky Sports
|Strathclyde Sirens vs London Pulse||11am||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|Celtic Dragons vs Surrey Storm||12.45pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|Saracens Mavericks vs Severn Stars||2.30pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|Team Bath vs Loughborough Lightning||4.15pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|Wasps Netball vs Manchester Thunder||6pm||Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
All 10 Superleague sides will be taking to the court to mark the start of the new term, live on Sky Sports.
The curtain-raising day, which is an additional round, will feature teams playing an opponent for the third time and commences the season's schedule before sides scatter across the UK.
London Pulse and Strathclyde Sirens will begin the day's action and a Grand Final re-match will complete the billing at the other end of the day.
Sky Sports is your home of netball and is back on your screens this month when the new Vitality Superleague season gets underway with all 10 teams in action at the Season Opener from Arena Birmingham on Saturday, February 22.