Manchester Thunder beat Hertfordshire Mavericks in the final game of the regular Vitality Superleague season on Monday night.
Dan Ryan’s team were already assured of the domestic title after Surrey Storm beat Mavericks on Saturday and a dominant display ensured a third successive defeat for Hertfordshire, who were top just a few weeks ago.
The defeat proved doubly damaging for Mavericks, who drop to third in the table and lose home advantage for Saturday’s semi-final against reigning champions Storm.
Thunder’s victory, in a game that was replayed after a leaky roof forced the original fixture on April 2 to be abandoned, means they finish the season on a high and head into the Superleague semi-finals as favourites to claim the title.
Vitality Superleague Semi-Finals
|Manchester Thunder||v||Team Bath|
|Surrey Storm||v||Hertfordshire Mavericks|
Thunder will face Team Bath at the Thunderdome on Saturday and head into the final four with all the momentum after eight successive victories following their only defeat of the season against Surrey in Round Six.
Captain Sara Bayman was voted Player of the Match on Monday, helping the Thunder into a five-goal advantage after the first quarter and they extended that lead into double figure by half-time.
Mavs rallied in the third quarter, winning it by 17-14, but with a 10-goal advantage going into the final 15 minutes the relentless Thunder never looked like losing and they closed out a dominant win to complete a regular season double.
Mavericks will now have to overcome an in-form Storm if they are to reach the Grand Final for a second successive but more importantly Sam Bird’s team will have to overcome defeats to each of their top four rivals in the final weeks of the regular campaign.
You can follow all the Superleague semi-final action on Sportsclubsociety on Saturday with Manchester Thunder v Team Bath at 4pm followed by Surrey Storm v Hertfordshire Mavericks at 6pm.