Manchester Thunder have won the 2023 Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship after beating defending champions Team Bath 51-9 in the final at the Copper Box Arena.
Karen Greig’s side started their campaign with a 34-30 victory over Strathclyde Sirens in the Double Elimination Stage before being beaten 29-26 by Team Bath thanks to a last-gasp winner from Sophie Kelly in their second run-out.
This meant that Thunder had to face an extra match to reach the final four and once again came up against Sirens. They battled through a tough encounter that had it all to book their semi-final berth with star signing Gabby Sinclair coming in clutch for a massive 10-pointer during their golden buzzer period to level up at 29-29 before they saw out the game 35-29.
In the semi-final, Thunder dominated their contest against Saracens Mavericks who were left trailing in their wake by Sinclair, who underlined her star title, as well as leading Netball Super League All Star GS for 2023 Mary Cholhok, as the Manchester side triumphed 26-14.
Thunder’s victory set up a title decider with last year’s winners Team Bath, who had come through all stages unbeaten with victories over Surrey Storm (23-16), Manchester Thunder (29-26) and Leeds Rhinos (14-37) to reach their second final in as many years.
In the final, Bath found that Thunder just had too much firepower though with MVP Sinclair showcasing just why she was one of the standout players of the tournament.
It was a one-way contest as Thunder kept racking up the points during normal play and their Power Play for an emphatic 51-9 title-winning performance – also the biggest win of the night – to secure their first Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship trophy.
Manchester Thunder Director of Netball Greig said: “We’ve been waiting for this for years and our record hasn’t been great and we’ve said we will go one better.
“Over the competition, we’ve gelled well. We played some mind games with the buzzer. Overall we’ve played great. I am really proud of the girls and a fabulous way to end the season.
“Fast5 is such an unpredictable game so when you have shooters firing it really helps. I want to thank Celtic Dragons and Loughborough Lightning for allowing Gabby (Sinclair) and Mary (Cholhok) to play for us today.”
MVP Sinclair said: “I just love playing. It’s all about the rhythm, get it and shoot it. The team has been so welcoming. I think we have gelled really well as a group.”
View the full results here.