Thunder clinical in victory
THUNDER have stormed out of the blocks in the early stages of the Premier Division Plate competition.
Following a league split which leaves the bottom four teams resetting their points and vying for a key consolation prize, the youthful Thunder have won both matches to wrest an early lead.
They cleared a critical hurdle last week in denying key threats Resolution IT Black and Tuesday’s 53-29 victory against the improved Zebras gifted them further momentum.
A few absences – notably that of playing coach Sophie Browning and Kiara Walsh – meant that a couple lower team members stepped up and performed admirably.
Grace Phillips proved a worthy shooting partner for impressive first-team regular Megan Wyatt-Nicolle while Savannah Goddard, taking the centre bib, produced some great movement and feeding into the duo.
But their strong backline had been equally instrumental and it was wing-defence Amy Le Tocq who eventually won over the opposition’s player-of-the-match nomination.
Zebras, who had reverted Natalie Carre from her recent holding shooter role back to goal-keeper in place of Annie Lavenne, struggled to contend with the early pressure as Thunder burst to a 15-4 quarter lead.
The ‘Prem’ newcomers enjoyed greater scoring success in the run to half-time, goal-shooter Laura Callaway laying the foundations for her eventual ‘PoM’ nomination, whereupon several missed opportunities reduced the leaders’ advantage to a milder 24-16.
Yet Thunder returned from the interval strongly and extended the gap to 37-23, with another excellent defensive period making it a delightful win for coach Dawn Browning.
‘The girls were just so clinical and did exactly what I asked of them,’ said Browning after also naming their improved ball positioning as a key strength.
‘Lots of great movement – they did everything right.
‘The players playing up from the lower teams really stepped up and it was an overall great effort from the girls.
‘We failed to make use of several opportunities in the second quarter and as a result “Zebs” found their rhythm and closed the gap slightly, but we found the form from the first quarter and dominated the third and final quarters.
‘Every game in the Plate competition is going to be hard-fought and all teams will be pushing hard to win. We will take one game at a time.’
- More in Thursday's Guernsey Press.