Hertfordshire Mavericks shocked all beating the undefeated Manchester Thunder at the MEN Arena in the 2015 semi-finals of the NSL.
Mavericks travelled up Friday night to prepare for the biggest game of the season against Manchester Thunder in front of a 4,100 strong Crowd at the MEN arena. Head coach Sam Bird said that the team had never been more focussed and more determined to perform for this playoff match. It was a now or never game, in front of a majority away crowd on SKY TV.
After lights out and players being called onto court Thunder took the first centre pass of this important game. Within minutes both teams were scoring and Thunder had taken the lead by 2, but this didn’t stop Mavericks. Defensively the squad suffocated their attack and started to turn the ball converting it in attack. Mavericks finished the first quarter strong leading 13-11.
Head Coach Sam Bird made no changes going into the second quarter. Mavericks came straight back onto court focused and ready to dominate. Mavericks speed and composure on court enabled them to continue to lead with a three goal cushion. Mavericks defence Naida Hutchinson, Layla Guscoth and Sam May were causing upset to the Thunder attack, continually tipping or turning the ball. Half time and Mavericks were still leading 25-23.
Third quarter saw Mavericks continue to stick to their game plan, and try to pull away from a Thunder. Both Louisa Watson and Kadeen Corbin were holding strong in the circle and finding the net at every opportunity. Unfortunately Thunder dug deep and caught up Mavericks, with a nail biting quarter it finished a draw 35-35.
Going into the last fifteen minutes of this game saw some wise words before the quarter from captain Sasha Corbin.
Mavericks knew this was all to play for! This quarter saw both teams fighting for the final, with goals being alternate and no one making any errors. With fives minutes to go Mavericks got a second wind and started to gain and extend the lead by 5. Defence turning the ball and Camillia Buchanan working hard at Centre bringing the ball through the court to attack. The clock minutes started to drop and Mavericks were on the up playing out of their skin until the final whistle.
Final whistle and Mavericks won 48-41 securing themselves a place in the Superleague Final next Saturday against Surrey Storm at the Copperbox. A repeat of the London Derby on Saturday 7th March.
This game turned out to be one of the best performances ever by the squad. Congratulations to Naidia Hutchison on her phenomenal play at GK, and being awarded Player of the Match.
Mavericks starting 7: GS Kadeen Corbin GA Louisa Watson WA Sasha Corbin C Camillia Buchanan WD Sam May GD Layla Guscoth GK Naida Hutchinson