The most entertaining season in ZEO Netball Superleague history rolled into the capital on Saturday evening as the Olympic Park rocked to the noise of Netball London Live. Surrey Storm eventually held on following a fierce Hertfordshire Mavericks fight back to seal an important victory and remain top of the table.
The build-up to event was incredible with tickets selling at a ferocious pace once they went on sale. Anticipation was boosted further as Sky publicised the event across their channels and used their ticket portal to reach a greater audience and generate additional interest on behalf of the Superleague.
With the amount of interest in the clash, it wasn’t long before the record was broken for largest crowd at a domestic Superleague fixture. In total over 3,200 fans crammed into the arena to take their place in a little bit of history.
To add to the excitement the Sky Sports cameras were on hand to capture the action live and allow netball lovers across the country to witness the phenomenal atmosphere and enjoy the fabulous encounter.
ZEO were also on hand to whip the supporters into a frenzy with the Tingle Crew performing throughout the evening and the sound of their ‘bam bams’ resonating throughout the arena to add the extra tingle down the spine when the scores became increasingly tight in the closing stages.
All that was required was for the players to deliver on the big stage and they did not disappoint. A fine end to the opening quarter saw Storm move into a 16-12 lead and with England international shooter Rachel Dunn shooting at 90% in the first half, they pulled clear at 30-22 at the interval.
As the third quarter came to a close it seemed that the hosts had put the game beyond doubt as Tamsin Greenway spotted Dunn with a long feed to move Strom 43-33 clear. Mavericks had other ideas and flew out in the final quarter and with the increase tempo reduced the gap to five.
With just under eight minutes left on the clock, Greenway called a medical time-out and the table toppers took the chance to re-group. A flurry of converted turnovers saw the gap reduce to a single goal with 45 seconds remaining; crucially Storm had the centre-pass. A fine display of controlled possession allowed Katie Harris to net in the final moments and secure a famous 52-50 home win.
At the final whistle the crowd roared their approval and rose to their feet to applaud both teams from the court with Storm pausing to take an Oscars style team ‘selfie’. The biggest stage in domestic netball had been set and the two sides smashed it out of the Olympic Park.