Storm grab their first home win of 2022
In VNSL round 5 action Bartercard Surrey Storm welcomed Leeds Rhinos to Surrey Sports Park as Storm search for their first home win of the season.
Familiar faces return to Sports park as former Surrey athletes Rhea Dixon and Sigi Burger step on the court in a different shade of blue with their Rhinos dresses. But sporting the duck egg blue for the first time this season since having her second child, Sophia Candappa re-joined the squad and would feature in the second half.
Rhinos Jade Clarke got us underway with the first centre pass the away side found Sigi Burger to strike first. Storm Responded and converted their first centre pass of the game.
Leeds turnover the ball as Storm try to force one into leading goal scorer Proscovia Peace as Rhinos take a 2-point goal advantage mid-way through the first quarter. Leeds defenders Keenan and Oyesola doubling up on Peace not allowing anything easy inside the circle.
As both teams traded goals there was nothing to separate them as the first quarter ends at 16 a piece.
Rhinos jump to an early start in the 2nd quarter as Rushton replaces Sigi Burger in the shooting end. Storm make adjustments and find their feet to take a 2 goal lead as Yasmin Parsons and Mikki Austin hunt the circle edge to feed Peace at a close range.
As Keenan struggles to cover the work of Peace the Rhinos bring on Airey to give the Ugandan shooter a different match up. Storm takes a 28 – 24 advantage with 5 minutes to go as the duck egg blue transition quickly up the court. Leeds had no answer as the momentum was all with the home team.
As the first half comes to a close Wing Defence Niamh Cooper puts in a stellar performance on England Roses Brie Grierson which would go on to see her being awarded with Player Of the Match. Proscovia Peace nothing but excellence remained 100% converting 30 of storm 31.
With only 5 points to differentiate the two sides Amelia Hall took to court in the WA position and Keenan came back into goal keeper as well as experienced Burger moving into the goal shooter position.
These changes made an impact as Storm were forced into making errors which saw Rhinos gain possession and execute in the shooting circle as the score line was reduced to a 2 goal game at 32 – 30.
Sophia Candappa entered the court with a loud cheer from the Storm fans to help find some rhythm again in the home side. Leah middleton and Alima Priest apply the pressure forcing misses from Burger and Storm quickly transition the other way. The precision from Candappa finds a holding Peace as Storm extend their lead to 6 goals with 5 minutes to go.
A blow to Rhinos as Oyesola calls time with a hand injury and is replaced by Airey whilst she is attended to by the Rhinos Physio. A strong finish to the quarter as the defensive work from Priest recovers the ball in the final seconds. A quick outlet to Candappa as the wing attack picks out Peace from range and nails one on the buzzer to bring the home fans to their feet.
Storm takes a convincing 7-point lead heading into the final phase of the game.
A rhino’s squad that was not short of effort gained 2 goals back early as they remained patient with a long quarter to play. Both sides created turnovers as end-to-end action took place with neither team scoring.
Play was paused for a while as the net was being fixed which allowed both teams to regroup and focus on a strong finish to the game. It was important to strike first for the home side and stamp out the game. Proscovia Peace nothing but class was unstoppable and remained composed as the pressure would not affect her in the shooting circle extending a 10-point lead.
Felisitus Kwangwa relieved Alima Priest for the final minutes of the game, but despite a great effort from the Rhinos playing hard until the final buzzer, the Bartercard Surrey Storm take their first home victory of the 2022 VSNL season.
Final Score 58 – 49.