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Sirens take it to extra time as they try to break Thunder’s winning streak

19th April 2017

Sirens were looking to make it three home wins in a row against an impressive Thunder team, who were on great form of late winning the last 7 of their 9 games to date.  The last time these two teams met, it was a close encounter at the Wright Robinson College, where Thunder came out on top with a narrow winning margin of 4 goals; and this game was to be no different.  What a treat was in store for the Emirates Arena crowd!

 

Starting Line Up

Sirens                                                     Manchester Thunder

GS: Carla Borrego                                GS:  Joyce Mvula

GS: Ellen Halpenny                             GA:  Kathryn Turner

WA: Nicola McCleery                          WA:  Liana Leota

C: Caroline O’Hanlon                           C:    Gabby Marhsall

WD: Claire Brownie (Captain)          WD:  Bea Skingsley

GD: Emily Nicholl                                GD:  Emma Dovey (Capt)

GK: Nicole Aiken Pinnock                   GK:  Kerry Almond

 

 

Off the back of a disappointing result against Celtic Dragons on Monday, Sirens back on home soil, were looking for an improved performance.  This was going to be a tough ask against a Thunder team who have been unbeaten in 7 games, but both teams were up for what was to be a fantastic encounter.

 

Both teams started strong from the first whistle, but it was Sirens who crept into an early lead with turnovers from their defensive trio, and some slick attacking play and quick hands from O’Hanlon and Halpenny into Borrego to take the score to 8-5.  Both teams showed patience on the ball throughout the first quarter, with Sirens edging it by one goal as the first 15 minutes ended.

Quarter 1 Score: Sirens 16 – Thunder 15

 

Both teams remain unchanged at the start of the second period.  Sirens took advantage of a Thunder loose ball, coupled with some impressive defensive play to take the lead by 4, 24-20.  As each team continued to apply full court defensive pressure, they remained composed in their respective attacking play.  The combinations of Halpenny and Borrego for Sirens, and Turner and Mvula for Thunder were impressive, as both sets of shooters were on point!

 

As Sirens took the lead to 29-22 and with 5 minutes to go in the half, Skingsley calls time, with Marshall moving to WD and Morgan coming onto C.  Morgan made an immediate impact with her speed and combination with Leota, as the latter makes a steal and with a quick feed into the circle as Thunder claw it back to 31-26.  A goal right on the buzzer for Thunder, means Sirens take a narrow 2 goal lead into the half time break.

Half Time Score: Sirens 32 – Thunder 30

 

Second half saw no changes for either team.   An error from the outset from Sirens, with Thunder capitalising and making it a one goal game.  Aiken-Pinnock then grabs an impressive steal, and working the ball through to Borrego who converts. But Thunder continue to apply the pressure, and this coupled with some impressive shooting from Turner, as she sinks yet another long bomb, Thunder narrow Sirens’ lead.

 

Nicholl calls time as Sirens lead 38-33, with Hayley Mulheron coming on to huge cheers to make her Sirens’ debut at GD.  The game continues to go goal for goal for a period with both teams applying some amazing defensive pressure, as well as some patient and smart attacking play.  Time is called with 5 minutes to go in the quarter, with McCleery heading to the bench and Moore-McGrath taking to court in the WA position.

 

As the third quarter comes to a close, Sirens have edged in front by 6, setting up what would be a fantastic close to the match. 

Quarter 3 Score: Sirens 49- Thunder 43

 

In the final period Thunder make one change, bringing Skingsley back onto WD with Marshall moving back to C, Sirens remain unchanged.

 

Thunder kick off with a conversion of their centre pass, and make a steal from Sirens, but were unable to convert.  Thunder score 3 in a row, and its nearly 3 minutes before Sirens get an opportunity to convert, and they do so with Borrego sinking a shot from under the post.

 

Both teams start to lose a bit of shape and become a bit frantic, but its Thunder who capitalise and with another long shot from Turner, Thunder draw level at 53-53.  Halpenny calls time for an injury with 6 minutes left on the clock, and makes way for Pettitt to take to the court for the second time this season.

It was edge of your seat stuff, as the final period comes to a close it’s a draw at 58-58 and the game is forced into Extra Time

 

As the first extra time period of 7 minutes commences, its Thunder who come out the stronger, and with them converting 8 of their 10 opportunities compared to Sirens 3 from 4, Thunder head into the 1 minute interval with an 80-75 lead. 

 

The second period of extra time sees Sirens make two changes, bringing Halpenny and McCleery back onto GA and WA respectively, hoping to recapture some of the first half play.  Unfortunately, it was not to be, as the visitors to Emirates Arena take the win by 10.

 

Reflecting on the match, Head Coach Gail Parata said “I am obviously disappointed that we lost this match today, when we had plenty of opportunities to take it away in each of the Quarters within the 60 minutes, but that’s the calibre of Manchester Thunder who are on a bit of a roll and who’ve now won 8 in a row. So they are a tough team to play against.  We had some really great plays, which were great to watch, but in extra time we just fell away really, and I am disappointed in the way that we finished.  On the positives, we played some really good netball today”

 

Final Score: Sirens 66 – Thunder 76

 

The Viper 10 Player of the Match – Carla Borrego

 

Next Match: Wasps v Sirens, 23rd April 2pm, Ricoh Arena

Next Home Match: Sirens v Team Northumbria, 29th April 2pm, Emirates Arena

 

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