Thunder edge out Tigers in close encounter

Thunder edge out Tigers in close encounter

Finn Daniel

The USC Thunder emerged as the victors in a hard-fought battle against the Carina Leagues Club Tigers, claiming  their first win of the 2020 HART Sapphire Series.

The 7:00pm meeting between the Thunder and the Tigers was tipped to be the match of the round and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The two teams had something to prove following opening round defeats and were evenly matched right through until the closing minutes.

Sunshine Coast Lightning players Binnian Hunt and Ashlee Uni arrived late, handing Chloe Bingham, who played in Thunder’s Ruby team earlier in the day, an unexpected start. The first quarter featured a flurry of early goals, largely courtesy of Tigers Goal Shooter Emily Gage, as both sides started with high intensity and moved the ball rapidly through the mid-court.

Annabel Lawrie will rue missed opportunities at the net for the Thunder, scoring only 5 goals from 12 shots in the first quarter. However, Hunt, who has already represented the Lightning in Suncorp Super Netball this season, kept the Thunder in the game with multiple rebounds.   

After a frenetic start, the teams relaxed into the game in the second quarter and the Tigers went on a 9-2 run by preventing the Thunder from escaping their defensive end. 6 straight goals from Lawrie reduced the lead to just 2, before the Tigers offence went on an unanswered scoring run of their own to reach half-time with a 25-20 lead.  

The Thunder successfully closed the gap in the third quarter, with Lily-May Catling and Sarahpheinna Woulf each contributing several intercepts and Ali Wishier energetic through the midcourt. A late intercept from Lawrie in the last minute of the quarter handed the lead to the Thunder for the first time since the first quarter.

Gage (25/30) and Amy Somerville (20/27) had played the entirety of the first three quarters and the fatigue may have caught up to the Tigers as the Thunder outscored their opponents 15-9 in the final term. Despite her slow shooting start, Lawrie (32/53) was composed when it counted, and the late caution received by Hayley Mulheron hinted at the frustration felt by the Tigers as the match that they had previously led slipped through their fingers.  

Pleasingly Alana Schuster finished the contest with no apparent injuries despite being forced to leave the court after a mid-air clash with Woulf in the third quarter.  

Carina Leagues Club Tigers 45 USC Thunder 52

Q1 11-11

Q2 25-20

Q3 36-37

Q4 45-52

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