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NPL Match report: Manchester Youth steals Mavericks Youth Thunder

2nd March 2016

Game 3 of the NPL Season - 2 wins out of 2 - and Mavericks faced a strong and also unbeaten Manchester Thunder side.  The Mavericks squad had worked hard in training following their narrow win over Team South Tigers 2 weeks ago.

Starting 7: GS Fleming, GA Morton, WA Dix, C Sutherland, WD Hatley, GD Oyesola, GK Everitt

Bench: Satwick, Durr, Kelk, Pavlin and Adio.

Mavericks started calmly this match.  Sutherland's ball placement into the shooters was accurate and fast, with Dix demonstrating great vision through mid court.  Everitt and Oyesola were switching well, Everitt picking up interceptions and Oyesola hunting loose feeds into the Thunder shooting circle.  There were some great attacking moves by Morton, drawing out her defender allowing Fleming space to drive under the post.  Hatley marked her WA tightly, tipping balls coming over the top of the Thunder shooting circle.  Pretty much goal for goal in this first quarter but Mavericks stealing a slender lead 14-12.

No changes going into Q2.  This proved to be the weakest quarter for Mavericks and they struggled to settle, rushing passes through mid court allowing Thunder to pick up misplaced balls.  All the fluency from the first quarter seemed to be missing.  Thunder immediately turned over 2 centres and quickly took a 2 goal lead.  Dix and Sutherland struggled to get balls into Morton and Fleming from circle edge and the Thunder defence took advantage, picking up interceptions and scored 7 goals with Mavericks failing to sink a shot.  Hatley, Everitt and Oyesola worked hard, but the Thunder shooting duo played their strongest quarter.  They stretched their lead to 10, but Mavericks managed to claw back 2 goals before the break for half time.  Mavericks found themselves down 20-28.

Q3 changes - Durr on for Dix at WA and Pavelin on for Hatley at WD.  Mavericks couldn't get out on their centre passes successfully and the attack started to stop driving forward onto the passes.  Sutherland and Durr struggled to get passes into the shooters and the Thunder defence stepped up the physicality in the circle, forcing Morton and Fleming to rotate but their movement was restricted with Fleming forced to drive out to help bring the ball through.  The fresh legs of Pavelin enabled Mavericks to bring the ball through mid court more quickly, and she started to pick up interceptions.  The defensive pressure forced balls off the Thunder back line but the team just couldn't convert. Durr called injury time to be replaced at WA by Dix.  Thunder seemed to release the ball more quickly and despite everyone on court working hard, Thunder just had the edge.  Quarter finished 30-41 Thunder.

The final quarter saw Durr on at WD to replace Pavelin.  Thunder continued to put pressure on the Mavericks team, but they fought hard.  The defence worked tirelessly together, the passages of play through mid court were strong and the shooters against very physical defenders never gave up.  But the Thunder team just seemed a little bit slicker and quicker.  Their ball release was fast and accurate and they finished the stronger side.  Final score 39-52.

Mavericks played some great netball in this match, particularly in the first quarter and must take the positives back to training, as well as those areas to work on. Surrey Storm up next at the Copperbox on 5 March.