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February 14, 2023 by Samuel Lane

Storm start the NSL 2023 campaign with a win

The Bartercard Surrey Storm kicked off their Netball Super League Season with a bang, as they faced off against the Strathclyde Sirens in a sold-out Nottingham Motor Point Arena.

Sophie Drakford-Lewis started the game off netting the first goal of the match. Guscoth showed why she is considered one of the MVP’s of the league, with a stunning interception to send the Storm in the other direction. Storm quickly built a lead of 5-2 after Proscovia Peace received feeds from Brookes and Austin. Flanagan added another interception from CP, sending a mid-court haul to Peace, as Storm extended their lead to 8-4.

Maxwell and Dix hunted down the circle edge, feeding Mccall and Goodwin, but Storm would capitalised off of Goodwin’s shot attempt. A miss-communication at the Storm shooting end saw Austin throw the ball out to a waiting Vinkhumbo. Middleton continued to dominate in the shooting circle, forcing errors from the Sirens shooters and Storm extended their lead to 15-6 with just 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Strathclyde Sirens found their composure in the final minutes of the quarter, putting more goals on the board and finishing the quarter 20-11 in favour if Surrey.

In the second quarter, Sirens came out strong, stringing together some impressive phases of play and cutting down the deficit. Goodwin lost Middleton in the circle to receive a long pass from Boyle, as the Scottish side only trailed by 6 after the first 5 minutes. Flanagan made a diving interception across the court, and Hannah Knights replaced Middleton at GK to give a different look on the Sirens shooter. Maxwell made another interception, as Mccall converted at the other end, Sirens did not back down and continued to fight to stay in the game, ending the half 37-28.

The third quarter saw changes for both teams, Candappa started the second half at WA for Storm and Robson replaced Boyle for Sirens. The teams traded goals in the opening 5 minutes of the quarter, but Candappa’s dazzling passes into the circle gave Storm a 13-point lead. In the third quarter Storm took control of the game and transitioned up the court to find both Peace and Drakeford-Lewis who managed to find the net each time, edging the lead out by 14 goals.

The fourth quarter saw Niamh Cooper start for Storm and Flanagan move to Centre where she found success throughout the pre-season. Sirens changed bringing on Natalie Bright at GD to give the Storm shooters a different look. Although Storm had a comfortable lead, Sirens remained relentless on defense. Wells entered the court for Drakeford-Lewis and Kwangwa replaced Knights. Wells knocked down her first shot of the game, as Oyella replaced Mccall for a well-deserved rest. Storm continued to push on, Flanagan showed her world-class caliber to the netball fans, as Storm took a comfortable victory, 68-56.

Player of the Match was awarded to England Rose Sophie Drakford-Lewis for a stellar first performance in duck egg blue. Drakford-Lewis’s performance was a clear indication of her potential for the season and her impact on the Storm’s victory. Sophie commented “It was great to get out there in the duck egg blue, it was really exciting to play my first game and I can’t wait to get the season going”.

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