A very strong start for Surrey Storm’s young NPL side on Saturday helped them to secure their fourth consecutive league win, overpowering local rivals Hertfordshire Mavericks 56-31 at Netball London Live.
The annual and increasingly popular event at the Copper Box Arena saw a huge number of fans turning up to watch the NPL match prior to the hotly contested NSL match between the same teams.
With their quest being to win the league title this year, there was much anticipation in the Surrey Storm camp with the team knowing that the skilled Mavericks side were likely to cause additonal pressure, particularly in comparison to their previous three matches.
An outstanding first fifteen minutes saw Storm cruise to a 17-4 lead as they hit the break and this was an extremely positive scoreline that neither team would have perhaps expected. However, despite the start, there was no time to be complacent and Coaches Tallisa Haynes and Jane Jewell kept the line-up the same into the second quarter.
A shaky fifteen minutes saw Storm, uncharacteristically, make numerous mistakes and the frustration on court and on the bench was clear. Struggling to settle, the team suffered from poor decision-making and with Mavericks having returned to court determined to regain their composure, the pressure was on. Storm held on to win the quarter by 10-9 and at the half-time break had therefore only extended their lead by one goal. Razia Quashie had been particularly influential, taking tips and interceptions all over the defensive third as well as creating turnover opportunity repeatedly but this commitment was needed by all seven.
The half-time talk was pretty direct and the team knew they had to do much more; the win was not yet in the bag and more importantly, the team performance was not up to standard, as all the players were aware. Returning to court, one line-up change at WD saw Katie Bowen making her 2016 debut and Storm started to make some improvements. Despite a number of further unforced errors, the home team were able to win the third quarter and extend their lead to 19 goals, putting them into an unassailable winning position going into quarter 4.
Changes were implemented in attack and centre-court for the final period of play with some fresh legs introduced in McCalla and Drakeford-Lewis and this worked to good effect for the Surrey based side, who had their highest scoring quarter, netting 18 goals to comprehensively win the match. Razia Quashie was the deserving Coaches’ Player after an incredible defensive performance that allowed Storm to turnover and convert repeatedly throughout the match.
Speaking in interview after the game, Team Manager Louise Hall said: “of course we are thrilled with the final result and to achieve that here in front of a good crowd at the Copper Box Arena is all the more special.
“The squad have been training hard for the match, knowing the quality of our Hertfordshire Mavericks opposition and the first quarter was outstanding with some other excellent moments during the game. We are disappointed not to have performed as we are able for all four quarters though and it will be back to the drawing board a little in training now to ensure we are able to compete consistently for 60 minutes in every match’
Surrey Storm NPL are currently top of the league table and face Team Bath in their next match at 5pm on Saturday 26 March. Fans can come and watch the match at Surrey Sports Park for FREE.
Storm starting 7:
GK – Quashie
GD – Williams
WD – Housley
C – Goss
WA – Gulvin (Captain)
GA – Dixon
GS – Leach
Changes: Bowen to WD (Q3), Drakeford-Lewis to C, McCalla to GS (Q4)
Q1 17-4 (17-4)
Q2 27-13 (10-9)
Q3 38-19 (11-6)
Q4 56-31 (18-12)