After going the whole season unbeaten, this weekend Manchester Thunder passed their final test as they beat Loughborough Lightning 60-53 in the Grand Final at the Copper Box Arena, London.
To reach Sunday’s final Thunder beat 4th placed Team Bath 66-54 in their Semi-final, whilst Lightning beat 3rd place London Pulse 56-44 in theirs.
For the title defenders Lightning this meant they faced the one team that had beaten them all season in the Grand Final, and from the off things didn’t look to go their way with their goal attack Ella Clark suffering a serious injury in the opening minutes of the first quarter.
The loss of Clark struck Lightning hard and Thunder dominated the remainder of the 15-minutes taking an early 20-8 lead into the first break.
From then on, despite Lightning having a better second-half, Karen Greig’s Thunder side remained in the lead keeping their opponents at arm’s length throughout the encounter, until they secured the 60-53 victory.
This makes Thunder just the second team in Superleague history to complete an entire season unbeaten and go on to win the title.
Greig’s winning side was full of international talent, including England Roses trio Laura Malcolm, Eleanor Cardwell and Net Metcalf.
All three players were rewarded for their efforts with Malcolm awarded Player of the Match, Metcalf winning her 5th league title in six years, and Cardwell winning Sky Sports Fans Player of the Year.
Malawi Queen, Joyce Mvula, who scored 34 goals in the Final for Thunder also finished her season on a high, showing just why she remains 2nd in the leagues scoring charts to Ugandan Proscovia Peace.
Despite being on the eventual losing side, another shooter that played their part in the Grand Final was Lightning and Uganda’s Mary Cholhok, who went off injured in the third quarter but then returned to court to continue her shooting masterclass and help her team push Thunder until the last quarter.
World Netball would like to congratulate Thunder on their win, and wish Clark all the best for her recovery.
To view the final league table, click here.
To find out more about leagues taking place in other World Netball Regions this season, visit our Domestic League page here