Thunder beat Lightning to extend Super League lead

Manchester Thunder's Imogen Allison
Imogen Allison's leadership was key for Thunder [Getty Images]

A strong second-half display helped Netball Super League leaders Manchester Thunder defeat closest rivals Loughborough Lightning and extend their advantage at the top of the table.

Thunder, who went into Saturday’s game against the reigning champions top on goal difference, were 30-29 down at the interval.

But they outscored the home side 17-13 in the third quarter and held on in a frantic finale to win 61-57 and go three points clear.

Victory was revenge for Thunder who lost to Lightning in Manchester earlier in the season.

“We were well up for today,” said Thunder’s Imogen Allison. “It was a really well-contested game – all credit to Loughborough, it was a tough one.

“This is huge for us and gives us big confidence after they beat us at home.”

Elmere van der Berg finished with 41 goals for Thunder and Lois Pearson added 20, while Lightning’s Mary Cholhok scored 50 to cement her place at the top of the league’s goalscoring charts.

London Pulse stayed in touch with the top two but were given a scare before holding off Leeds Rhinos 49-48 for their seventh win in a row.

Pulse, who are now level on points with Loughborough, were 29-25 behind at the break but led 40-38 going into the fourth quarter.

They were three goals ahead with just over a minute to go, and although the Rhinos scored twice it was not enough.

Surrey Storm remain in contention for the play-offs with a 63-56 win over Team Bath, led by Proscovia Peace (40) and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (20).

Storm were 35-31 ahead at the break but extended that to 55-41 by the end of the third quarter, and although Team Bath rallied in the final quarter, the visitors held on for victory.

Elsewhere, Saracens Mavericks cruised past Strathclyde Sirens 57-41 with the Scottish side still awaiting their first win of the season.

On Sunday, Severn Stars will continue their push for the play-offs when they take on Cardiff Dragons.

Netball Super League table

Netball Super League table
[BBC Sport]