Monday, 28 April 2014
Netball fans from across the country flocked to the University of Worcester Arena for the ZEO Superleague final this weekend, and witnessed one of the most dramatic games in the competition’s history.
The showpiece event, the culmination of England’s premier domestic netball competition, saw Manchester Thunder take on Surrey Storm in the final, after Hertfordshire Mavericks had defeated reigning champions Team Bath to claim third place.
In front of a packed house - and the Sky television cameras - Storm had the better of a tight first half and led 26-22 at the half-time break.
However, neither team were able to establish a decisive lead, and with the sides locked together on 48 points each going into the final seconds of the contest, it was left to Thunder shooter Helen Housby to keep her cool under pressure and score the last-gasp goal that meant the trophy was heading back to Manchester.
Thunder coach and former England international Tracey Neville was quick to praise the atmosphere generated by the University Arena crowd after the game.
She said: “It’s great to have the ZEO Superleague final here at the University of Worcester Arena; it’s a fantastic venue and it’s great that so many people can come and watch.
“The crowd and the atmosphere that they generated inside the University Arena was unbelievable, and that definitely impacted our performance tonight.”
The win represents a second Superleague triumph for Thunder, who won the trophy for the first time in 2012, again defeating Storm in the final. Surrey Storm – who ended this year’s regular season unbeaten – have now lost all three of the Superleague finals they have contested.
April White, University Arena manager, says of the final: “Last year’s Superleague final was the first major event we staged at the University Arena after we opened, so it was wonderful to see such a big, passionate and enthusiastic crowd returning for this year’s event.
“Having hosted large domestic and international netball fixtures over the past year, we were delighted to again welcome players and fans back to the University Arena for what was an incredibly exciting and memorable final.”