Coventry Outclass Pitiful Storm To Record Shutout

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Manchester Storm   0  –  5  Coventry Blaze

Saturday night saw the visiting Coventry Blaze inflicting a heavy home defeat on the Manchester Storm, as the Blaze put in a dominant performance from start to finish and saw the Blaze shutting out the Storm to register a stunning 5-0 win at the Altrincham Ice rink.

The 5-0 scoreline was only half the story though, as even though Coventry ran out very much the deserved winners of the contest, it saw the hosts producing the worst performance by a Manchester hockey side in a long time. To say this was a bad day at the office for Ryan Finnerty’s men would be an understatement.

There was a delay to face off, after the plexiglass behind the Blaze goal was shattered in the warm-up and saw a 15-minute delay. Once the game got underway, it saw only one side in the contest at all. Coventry came out immediately on the front foot and put instant pressure on Mike Clemente in the Storm goal, while they were also doing a great job of pinning the home side in their own zone too.

Mark-Oliver Vallerand then netted the opener for the Blaze at 3.45, as his shot from an extremely tight angle somehow managed to find its way over the shoulder of Clemente and into the far top corner and caught everyone by surprise. 

An issue that has been on-going at the Altrincham rink for some time now, has been the pegs used in games and the ineffectiveness of their job. There was another delay as the officials worked with the rink staff to try and sort the problem out with the pegs, as the nets coming off was becoming a problem.

Manchester seemed to be more intent with using their skates than their sticks to control a pass, and also saw a complete lack of cohesion in defence and their attack too. Mike Clemente was nearly caught out behind his own net when he tried to play a puck and saw a lack of communication with his defence almost leading to a second goal for the visiting Blaze.

21463365_1971882929757654_6285498602625057739_nEarly on in the second period, it saw a complete communication breakdown again between netminder and defenceman, as Clemente and Matt Stanisz seemed to leave the puck for the other person and that allowed Luke Ferrera to swoop in and put a pass out in front for Ross Venus and he scored for a 2-0 score at 22.05. 

Luke Ferrara then made it a 3-0 game at 33.23, when David Clements angled shot on the blue line fell nicely to Ferrara whose first effort hit the side netting, but the British forward was still able to scramble the loose puck home and virtually put the game to bed.

As play went on, it seemed like the Storm was rudderless and lacked no leadership or spark amongst anyone on the ice whatsoever. It felt also like the side had never played together with so many poor misplaced passes and a lack of cutting edge to their play at all.

Manchester looked devoid of any ideas in both defence or attack, and could hardly muster stringing two passes together in the whole game too. Ciaran Long had the best chance for the home side when he found himself one on one with the netminder, but he failed to hit the target and saw his shot coming off the glass behind the goals.

Coventry then stretched their lead at 34.58 through a second goal of the game for Vallerand, as the visitors turned the screw on their opponents and saw Manchester having another preventable goal going in.

The goal came from a puck up ice that saw a Storm man more interested in trying to make a hit then clear the puck, which was more in the Blaze favour, as that freed up Vallerand to simply skate by and pick up the loose puck before firing through the legs of Clemente with the defence backing off, with Coventry 4-0 to the good.

The third seemed to be a relatively quiet period for the most part, as the game was over as a contest, but saw Linden Springer taking exception to Ross Venus slash on Matt Beca and saw the Storm man charging at Venus and sending him flying to the ice, which resulted in a match penalty for his involvement and gave Coventry a shortened five-minute power play.  

It saw the visitors making the most of it and have captain Jordan Pietrus ripping one home to put the exclamation point on the victory, and condemn the Storm to defeat without a whimper on what was an extremely disappointing night for the hosts. 



 

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Storm fall short against Steelers, But douse the Blaze

Manchester Storm     3   –  6   Sheffield Steelers

Saturday night saw a feisty contest at the Altrincham Ice Rink, where the Sheffield Steelers beat the Manchester Storm 6-3 thanks to two goals by Mathieu Roy, as the Canadian gave the South Yorkshire side victory in the Challenge Cup group clash.

From the opening puck drop, it saw the big hits coming fast and furiously with most of them coming from the home side, as they looked to make it a difficult game for their opponents and looked to make it back to back win against the Playoffs champions after they beat Sheffield at home in pre-season.

With the home side adopting a physical approach to their game that saw the Steelers being roughed up a fair bit, it saw the visiting side responding with good puck retention and dominating play as the Storm were finding it hard to stop the opposite in attack.

Manchester clearly wanted to show that they weren’t going to be intimidated by a side that has over the last couple years has had their number, both physically and victory wise against the Storm, so they were not holding back and tried to make a statement.

Dane Byers and Tim Wallace then clashed and saw the linesmen stepping in quickly to stop anything from occurring, as the players looked to be a bit annoyed by the quickness of the officials getting in between them both. Referee Tom Pering called a double minor on Byers, which gave the Steelers a power play to which the Storm successfully killed off.

The home side started to edge their way back into the contest and put the Sheffield netminder Ervins Mustukovs under a bit of pressure, which forced the goalie into a couple of saves. Storm though was getting into some penalties trouble, with Jay Rosehill called for Roughing and then Dallas Ehrhardt followed soon after for Charging.

As the period went on, it did have the feel of it being only a matter of time before the visiting side scored, and with the Steelers on a five on three power play,  it saw the visiting grabbing the initiative with a couple of goals of quick fire goals. Firstly, Mathieu Roy redirected a shot past Mike Clemente for the opening goal, before Colton Fretter made it 2-0 at 15.42 and put Sheffield deservedly in front.

In the second, it saw Sheffield making it 3-0 at 27.49 through a Rob Dowd effort and put the visitors firmly in the driving seat and looked like they were taking the game away from the home side very early.

The Storm struck back just over two minutes later, when Dallas Ehrhardt scored to get the home side on the board and that was soon followed by a Ryan Trenz goal that made it a 3-2 game, just after the halfway point of the contest.

With the momentum now with the Storm, it saw play tilted down more so in the Sheffield end and also saw tensions growing too. Tempered then boiled over when Matt Stanisz took exception to a high arm on Declan Balmer by Tim Wallace, and saw the gloves dropped and punches exchanged between the players.

Less than a minute later it saw more it saw Sheffield’s Colton Fretter and Manchester’s Ciaran Long away from play tangling, with the Storm man getting the punches in quickly and having both players sitting in the penalty box. Dane Byers and John Armstrong both collected penalties for their involvement and saw the hosts with a power play.

However, the home side struggled to make anything with the extra man advantage and saw the Steelers killing the penalty off with ease and untroubled too. Sheffield then looked to have administer a late body blow to the home side in the final minute of play in the second, as Andreas Valdix made it 4-2 for the visitors at 39.04.

As play moved to the third period, it saw the Manchester Storm captain Jay Rosehill getting a ten minute Unsportsmanlike Conduct call against him early on from Mr Perring, as the referee didn’t take kindly to the former NHL player’s views.

Chris Auger scored a brilliant solo goal to make it a one-goal game once more, after the former Fife Flyer took a pass from Byers at centre ice and proceeded to cut through two Sheffield defenders before taking it round the goalie and sliding it home for a 4-3 score at 43.33.

With Manchester looking in search of a tying goal, it saw the visitors getting a couple of breakaways and needed Mike Clemente in the Storm goal to make some good stops to keep his side in the game.

Mathieu Roy then delivered the knockout blow to the home side with less than seven minutes left to play, as the forward put home after a puck came loose at the front of the net and Roy was on hand to put home for a 5-3 game.

Manchester were looking at pulling the goalie and get the extra attacker on, but Jonas Westerling put paid to that at 57.39, as he battled for a bouncing puck in the Manchester zone and scored the Steelers sixth of the game and condemn the hosts to defeat in their Challenge Cup group game.


COVENTRY BLAZE    1   –  4    MANCHESTER STORM

After losing to Sheffield at home on the Saturday night, the Storm travelled down the M6 to Coventry on the Sunday night and faced the Blaze for the third time in less than a month, but first meeting of the regular season and came back home with two league points after a 4-1 road win. 

Two goals at the start and the end of the second by Matt Beca, with one coming on the powerplay, put the Storm in a good position. Manchester could count themselves lucky as well, as the home side had two goals ruled out in the space of 19 seconds and it could have been a different story.

In the third, it saw the Blaze netting through Mark-Olivier Vallerand too have the hosts back in the game, but a Ryan Trenz powerplay goal saw the Storm 3-1 up before Mike Hammond continued his fine start to the season with nice finish soon after 4-1 and see Manchester registering their second league win of the season.

Braehead Haunted By Former Employees In Storm Victory

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MANCHESTER STORM   4 – 1   BRAEHEAD CLAN 

The Manchester Storm had a mixed bag this weekend, as the Altrincham based club opened their season with the Challenge Cup group games against the Braehead Clan and suffered a 7-5 loss up in Glasgow on Saturday night, before the Storm returned the favour the next night at home and claimed a 4-1 win against the Scottish side to see a split of the games between the two.

Storm coach Ryan Finnerty will have been looking for a vastly improved defensive display from his side following the loss up against his former employees in Braehead, as the former Braehead coach has watched his side shipping 14 goals in their last two games.

After the sides traded twelve goals in Glasgow the next before, it seemed almost certain that both teams would look to tighten up at the back and that was pretty much how it seemed, with a very tight and scrappy opening period of play. Manchester though did come out of the blocks quickly, as they put Ryan Nie in the Clan goal under severe pressure from the get-go.

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Match Official Dean Smith rules out a goal for Clan after a scramble :Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss of All Sports Photography

As the period went on, it saw the game becoming very scrappy and having neither team able to take over and have each side cancelling the other out. It was defence on top in the first and saw the attackers struggling to make inroads the game. 

In the second period, it saw the game being more physical and having the short-benched Clan side looking anything from a team that was missing five of their imports still, as they gave the home side as good as they got.

Mike Hammond then came in for some attention by his former side, after his weakly struck shot came after a very late whistle for an offside against him and that saw a couple of Clan players not happy at all. 

Soon after it saw Landon Oslanski then doing the same seconds after the whistle had long gone and that brought a scrum amongst the players, with the Storm side clearly not impressed and earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct call.

Manchester was creating lots a hat full of chances in the period, but they just unable to capitalise on them and were missing the final touch to turn them into goals. The misses would comeback to bite the hosts, when Jacob Doty then tied the game up at 25.08 as a loose puck came off a Manchester player and saw the puck bouncing, with Doty on hand to whack home the rebound for a 1-1 game.

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Paul Swindlehurst celebrates his strike to make it 3-1 :Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss of All Sports Photography

At 34.01, it saw the Storm taking the lead once again through their Braehead link of Mike Hammond and Matt Beca, as Hammond skated up the right wing before laying off a backhanded pass towards Beca who blasted top shelf over the shoulder of the goalie for a 2-1 Storm lead.

Play in the third period saw the visitors having a couple early chances with Mike Clemente who was pretty quite in the game forced into a save on a one on one and saw him making a great stop to shut the door on Doty.

Manchester began to take the game away from their opponents, as the Clan were showing signs of tiredness with their short bench and that was compounded with a Paul Swindlehurst rocket that pinged in off the far post to give Storm a 3-1 lead at 46.30 and all but condemn the battling visitors to defeat.

The home side then controlled play and left Braehead head coach John Tripp with no option but to pull his goalie with just over three minutes left to play for the extra attack and try to force two late goals.

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The Storm players celebrate their victory with their salute :Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss of All Sports Photography

As it was, it saw the host putting the game to bed with salt being rubbed into the opponents wounds as an empty net goal by Jay Rosehill at 57.31 saw all the former Clan players that made the move south in the off season getting on the scoresheet for their new club.

Tripp once again pulled his goalie with the Storm having a man in the box and saw the Clan having a 6 on 4 man advantage, that until a penalty against them put paid to any hopes of a late comeback and see a split of the two games going for either side in their challenge cup exploits.


 

 

Hammond OT Strike Sees Storm Take Win In Crazy Game

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 MANCHESTER STORM 8-7 COVENTRY BLAZE (After Overtime)

An overtime goal by Mike Hammond helped finally bring an end to the overtime ‘hoodoo’ that that plagued the Manchester Storm since hitting the ice three years ago, to have the home side winning 8-7 against the Coventry Blaze to see remain perfect at home after their two pre-season games.

Manchester welcomed the Blaze to the Altrincham Ice Rink for the Storm’s final pre season game before the real action begins this upcoming weekend and saw both sides playing out an incredible game, where defence for either team was really far from the fore front of anyone’s mind in the contest.  

The hosts were two forwards down for the game, as Shane Bakker was missing through injury and Chris Auger was also absent too, as he picked up a knock in the win on Sunday against Sheffield.

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‘Teams Bonding’ Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss

Both teams had chances early on in the game, but it was the visitors that took the lead against the run of play at 7.30 through a Ben Lake goal, after a pass at the side of the net by Brett Robinson saw the Blaze man tapping home for a 1-0 lead.

The home side then thought that they had scored midway through the period when shot by Luke Moffatt saw the referee deferring to the newly installed goal-line technology for the league this year, but after studied the replay the referee Liam Sewell ruled it no goal and remained in favour of Coventry. 

Manchester was dominating the possession, but the only stat that counted was that the Blaze were in front on the scoreboard. Matt Stanisz then levelled things up with a blast from the blue line that beat netminder Brython Preece all ends up for a 1-1 score at 16.40, and that saw the home side back in the game.

Brett Robinson then sat for two minutes in the penalty box for a holding call against him, which gave the Storm a chance to take the lead on the power play. The Storm thought got caught out while having the man advantage, which led to the visitors break quickly up ice with Ryan Dingle and Marc-Olivier Vallerand and have Vallerand finishing to restor the Blaze lead at 16.54.

The hosts still had their power play on going, and that saw captain Jay Rosehill firing home to make it 2-2 as the period looked to be heading all square. As it was, the Blaze had other ideas and scored a third goal which was much a carbon copy of their second goal. This time it saw Garrett Ladd feeding Vallerand at the far post and he coolly finished to have Coventry going into the break 3-2 up.

Ryan Finnerty then made a netminding change at the start of the second, with Declan Ryan replacing Mike Clemente in the Manchester goal and his first action was scoop the puck from out his net, after Ben Lake grabbing his second of the game after goal line technology was used once again to give the Blaze a 4-2 lead early on. 

Gerald Hanson then made it a one goal game to make it 3-4 on the Power play after the Swede cut the deficit in half, before Nate Fleming tied the game up at 4-4. The home side had the momentum swing to their side now and looked to capitalise on it too, as their hitting game moved up a notch or too and saw and the physical play being brought out more.

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Declan Ryan :Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss

Ciaran Long then scored his first goal for the club, as he put the hosts in front with 1.24 left to go in the period for 5-4 with the ex-Basingstoke man making space and firing high on Preece.

A crazy passage of play then saw the Blaze equalising before the period’s end, when defenceman Dallas Ehrhardt saw his shot hitting the post for the home side and then saw play coming back up the other end and have Jordan Pietrus netting thanks to some inventive passing by his linemate for the goal.

As the game entered the third period, it saw the sides going back and forth with waves of attack by both teams and have the game being played in a ‘gung-ho style’ for the rest of the game. Coventry then went on the power play after Luke Moffatt was called for a tripping penalty and that soon saw the Blaze making full use of the extra man with Ryan Dingle making it 6-5. 

Matt Bissonnette then grabbed the Storm’s 6th goal of the game, after a beautifully worked power play saw the Canadian forward making it all square again and turning see this game still looking like having plenty more goals to come yet.

With 12.47 to go in the third, it saw Ryan Dingle netting his second goal of the game to make it 7-6 for the visiting side, as he managed to slip the puck through the legs of Declan Ryan and have the Blaze taking the lead for the fifth time in the game.

Ryan Finnerty’s side then found themselves with a 5 on 3 power play coming their way, to which Mike Hammond found the back of the net for a tying goal and saw this extraordinary game level once more.

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Mike Hammond nets the Overtime winner ;Photos by Mark & Aaliyah Ferriss

Surprisingly, with no further scoring in the game it saw overtime needed to find a winner between the two sides. It saw a short overtime period played, as with Coventry having a couple of quick shots it saw Storm breaking up ice with Mike Hammond clear through and the former Braehead man slid it under Preece for the game winner for the Storm in a crazy, crazy game.

The goal wasn’t just a normal game winner, but it also a historic one for the Manchester Storm, as Mike Hammond became the first ever Storm player to score an overtime winner in their short history as part of their victory.

Next up for Manchester will see Ryan Finnerty coming up against his former employees along with Jay Rosehill, Matt Beca and Mike Hammond as they take on the Braehead Clan home and away game in the start of the Challenge Cup.

Auger Double Helps Storm To Return Favour on Steelers

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MANCHESTER STORM  4 – 2  SHEFFIELD STEELERS


Less than 24 hours after the two Roses rivals faced off in Sheffield in what was a very tight game with the home side coming out on top 5-4, Sunday’s game was equally as tight and had the Manchester Storm gaining revenge with a 4-2 win over the Sheffield Steelers in their pre-season game at the Altrincham Ice Rink.

The Storm was still missing Shane Bakker from their line up after the forward had picked up a knock last week against Coventry, while Linden Springer was suspended as well for the home side after he picked up a match penalty in the Saturday game against the Steelers. Manchester was wearing their specially designed ‘Manchester Pride’ rainbow jerseys for the match to coincide with Pride weekend in Manchester. 

Play started out with both teams cancelling each out the other, whilst the netminders were left to watch the game and not have any shots being fired at them for a long period in the first. Manchester then began to find some joy and put the visitor’s defence under a bit of pressure, but the Sheffield backup in Brad Day was keeping the Storm forwards out and saw the home side beginning to up the tempo a tad too.

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Mike Clemente making the stop for host from the Sheffield man: Pic – ALL SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

As you would come to expect with games involving Manchester and Sheffield, or Lancashire and Yorkshire in any sport for that matter, both sides were showing their physical side as there were some big hits throughout and a couple of bruising ones at that. 

Both teams had some good chances in the game and needed the goalies to make some important stops at both ends of the ice to keep it a scoreless game. With a couple of penalties being killed off by either side, it seemed like the first period was looking to be a goalless opening twenty minutes of play, but the home side had other ideas.

With less than a minute of play remaining in the first period, it saw Chris Auger getting the up ice pass and found himself on a breakaway to put the Storm one up. Seconds later it was 2-0 for the home side with a Dallas Ehrhardt shot slipping by Brad Day and trickling over the line to double the lead for the Storm after one period of play.

In the second period of play, it saw Sheffield without doubt having the better of the play and had the visitors almost making it a one goal game when they had an effort on goal that saw Mike Clemente in the Storm net making the original stop and then somehow managing to make a second stop using his stick to deny the Steelers from netting.  

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Brad Day watches the puck trickle in as Storm lead 2-0: Pic – ALL SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Sheffield didn’t have to wait too much longer for a goal to arrive though, as Ben O’ Connor ripped an unstoppable shot past the netminder and saw the lead cut in half to get the Steelers on the board. Dane Byers then laid a big hit on an Orange shirted player behind the Sheffield goal but the referee deemed it be an elbow and so needed the hosts to kill off another penalty.

Tempered then slightly frayed as Zach Fitzgerald of the Steelers and Storm Captain Jay Rosehill tangled and wrestled each other after the whistle with a scrum at the front of the Manchester nets, and resulted in the two serving two-minute penalties for roughing. New signing Declan Balmer then made a big mid-ice hit on an opposition player to have the home crowd cheering and see the game still being played in a tough manner. 

With the period being mostly in the Storm half for the majority of the second, it was no surprise when the Steelers tied the game up at 2-2, as an attempted clearance fell right to a Sheffield man who played it across to Ben O’ Connor who finished it off to draw the scores level at 34.24.

Manchester had hardly managed to do much in the way of attacking in the second period due to the attacking play coming from the Steelers, but when the puck came to Chris Auger at the front of the net, it then saw the former Fife man on hand to reestablish a one goal lead for the Storm with 36.42 and see the hosts going back in front at 3-2.

As play moved to the third, it saw the home side coming out a bit brighter than they had in the middle stanza and saw them carving out a couple of early chances for themselves, to begin with. Clemente then made a stunning save from point-blank range to deny the Steelers of a goal minutes later.

The Storm then added a fourth goal from the stick of Mike Hammond, with the former Braehead Clan man blasting home at 50.44 to put the home side 4-2 up and all but secure their first win of the preseason. 

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Chris Auger scoring the opener: Pic – ALL SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Sheffield hadn’t given up hope of a comeback though, as the visitor’s continued their search of a third goal of which would have set up a tense finale with their opponents. Storm’s back line stood up well to them and snuffed out their last hopes, despite the Steelers striking the pipework twice late on in a losing effort.

With the goalie pulled for the extra attacker with over a minute and a half left to play, it saw the home side holding out for the win over the playoff champions and give them a boost ahead of their upcoming season. 

Manchester will look to make it back to back wins this upcoming Wednesday night, as the Storm entertain fellow Patton Conference rivals the Coventry Blaze in their final pre-season encounter before facing the Braehead Clan home and away next weekend.


 

Thunder’s Problems Rumble On As Vipers Strike

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LANCASHIRE THUNDER   87 all out       Hazell 37        Smith 3-16

SOUTHERN VIPERS           88 – 4               Wyatt 46         Ecclestone 2- 19 


Lancashire Thunder saw their win less streak in the Kia Women’s Super League competition continue on, as the Thunder suffered yet another terrible batting collapse at home to the title chasing Southern Vipers in Liverpool, where the Thunder fell to a six wickets defeat to their opponents.

Before the start of play, their opponents the Southern Vipers had only suffered one defeat so far in the competition and that came this past Sunday against the leaders Surrey, to which it needed Duckworth/Lewis coming into play and have them losing out. For the Thunder, they have lost all their games in the competition so far, and have also really struggled massively for form with bat or ball from their side this year. 

From the get-go, it saw the home side on the back foot almost immediately from the off and had the Vipers getting ready to strike at their wound opposition, as the innings seem to have the home side showing a lack of confidence. Lancashire lost opener Emma Lamb early on thanks to Linsey Smith clean bowling the youngster for 1, as the Vipers player would have an exceptional day with the ball.  

England’s Sarah Taylor then came to the crease for the hosts but was soon heading back to the dugout after she hit a ball straight back to Windes International Hayley Matthews for one, which had the home side on 8-2.

New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite made a three ball duck to see the Thunder side three down, while Linsey Smith helped herself to her second wicket of the match. Smith would soon after pick up another wicket for her troubles, as she knocked over Eve Jones for 7 saw the hosts now 10-4 and in desperate trouble. 

Australian Jess Jonassen and youngster Ellie Threlkeld then helped to put on a mini partnership to halt the collapse during the Lancashire Innings and have both steering the hosts past 30-4.

That mini revival didn’t last too long and saw Suzie Bates bowling Jonassen out for 11 and see the Thunder five down. Elle Threlkeld was next to go for Lancs, as she was run out for a stubborn score of 6 and have the scoreboard reading 31-6 and have the hosts in real danger of not making a half century.

Lancashire desperately needed a knock from someone in the middle order to just make it a fairly competitive contest, and up stepped the captain Danielle Hazell, as she tried to rally the Thunder with some brilliant shot making out in the middle. Sadly for her, she saw wickets tumble at the other end with Sophie Ecclestone and Natalie Brown both failing to score and seeing the Vipers putting on a clinic as the Lancashire Innings was coming to an end.

England’s Kate Cross then joined her skipper at the crease with the score at 57-8 and it would need a huge push by the two of them to help post anything that was relatively possible to defend against their opponents. Both batters played some good shots, with Hazell hitting a couple of big sixes and seeing Cross picking up a couple of handy boundaries along the way as the hosts looked to score as many as they could inside the final three overs.

At the start of the final over, it saw the Thunder captain looking to go big and throw the bat but her effort sadly came up short and had Tash Farrant picking up the wicket of Hazell, with Suzie Bates taking the catch to dismiss the England International for 37. Cross was the final wicket to fall in the Lancashire Innings, with the Lancashire pairing running in vain for an extra score to the total and see the England International run out for 19 and have the Thunder all out for a lowly 87.

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Aigburth Cricket Ground, Liverpool

 

The Southern Vipers were set just 88 for victory and it seemed liked it was a pretty much cut and dried thing, with the Vipers seemingly just knocking the runs off quickly. As it was, the Thunder were determined to make it as hard for their opposition while it lasted and were keen to make amends for their poor batting display.

Lancashire started with Jess Jonassen and Sophie Ecclestone opening the bowling attack for the home side, with the hope that they could take an early wicket much like the Vipers had done against them. Sophie Ecclestone opened her spell with a wicket off the first ball, as Hayley Matthews could only loft it up in the air as far as Lea Tahuhu and the New Zealander took the catch to give the home side an early breakthrough.

Chester-born Ecclestone then struck again later in the over to claim her second wicket of the Innings, as the spinner bowled Georgia Adams out for a duck and see the Vipers not having it all their own way with the visitors 7-2.  

However, Southern Vipers duo of Suzie Bates and Danni Wyatt then managed to get to grips with a low bouncing pitch and punish some poor deliveries at times at the crease too. The Australasian connection of Jess Jonassen and Amy Satterthwaite brought the Thunder a third wicket as a reward for plugging again, as Satterthwaite took the catch from a Suzie Bates shot and have the visitors 26-3.

South African Mignon du Preez then played a little cameo Innings for the Vipers before Danielle Hazell bowled her out for 9 and have the visiting side 41-4, with the visitors needing another 47 runs for victory. Lancashire used an entire bowling attack mainly made up of spin, as the quickies were getting much out of the pitch and the Thunder side chose to use spin as their form of attack against their opposition.  

Vipers Danni Wyatt proved to be the match winner in the game with the England International finishing on 46 not out and see both her and teammate Arran Brindle who finished on 19 unbeaten too, as the Southern Vipers eased to victory by six wickets and qualify for Finals day.  This defeat was the fourth straight loss in this year’s competition and see their winless streak moving to seven in a row, with the Thunder’s last win coming against Loughborough in last season’s competition.

Lancashire still have one more game left to play in 2017 tournament, as the side travel down to Bristol to face the Western Storm on Saturday and will be playing for pride and also hope to a build on a battling effort with the ball.  


 

Scorecard:

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Bjerre and Nicholls help Aces Roar to victory over the Lions

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  Leicester  Lions  40  –  50  Belle Vue Aces

Belle Vue moved within two points of leaders Swindon Robins with a 50-40 road win over the Leicester Lions at Beaumont Park Stadium on Saturday night as the Aces took four league points to strengthen their playoff position.

The Aces brought in former rider Scott Nicholls to their side and had the former British Champion top scoring with 14+1 as the ex-Ace stepped in to guest for the Belle Vue captain Craig Cook, who was riding in Russia to qualify for the Grand Prix’s next year as part of the Grand Prix Challenge.

Both sides were missing key riders for the fixture due to a number a reasons and is a real hot topic that really needs to be addressed by the BSPA in the forthcoming winter.

Perhaps with both sides fielding a mix of guests for the clash between two famous names in the sport, that it may have made it a more even contest and that clear by the heat scores throughout.

After a couple of shared races it then saw Belle Vue taking the lead in heat 3 through Steve Worrall and ex-Lions man Paul Starke as the two combined for a 5-1 to put the Aces up 11-7, and that was a lead that they never relinquished in the match.

It saw the meeting being a very tight affair with the sight of seven out of the first eight races all being shared races between the two sides and, have a visiting rider taking the chequered flag in seven of those eight races too.

Heat 5 saw Belle Vue’s Great Dane in Kenneth Bjerre shoved to the back by the Leicester pairing of Kyle Howarth and Kenneth brother Lasse, but the Aces man fought his way back and powered his way under Howarth before pushing his brother and taking victory.

Heat 9 saw a stop to the shared races with a 4-2 for the Manchester side, after Lasse Bjerre was excluded in the race after he fell off and saw in the rerun Scott Nicholls taking the win ahead of Kyle Howarth and have Jack Smith picking up his first point of the match too in the race.

The Lions then responded with a 4-2 from Kim Nilsson and Erik Riss in heat 10 to give the hosts their first heat advantage of the match and reduce the deficit to four points. Belle Vue then returned the favour as they eased to a 5-1 from Kenneth Bjerre and Scott Nicholls to see them lead restoring their lead and increase it with the score 37-29.

In the remaining four races of the match it saw the Aces recording three 4-2 heat advantages against their hosts, with a couple of stunning rides by young sensation Dan Bewley winning two coming from the field.

Heat 12 saw Dan Bewley being held back by Lasse Bjerre and saw the Aces man generating more and more speed to finally come up the inside of the Leicester man to take the win.

Leicester then scored the most surprising 5-1 of the whole meeting in Heat 13 with the Lions duo of Kim Nilsson and Lasse Bjerre getting the better of the previously undefeated tandem in Kenneth Bjerre and Scott Nicholls.

Bewley made sure in the penultimate race of the night that the Aces were guaranteed of victory with a breathtaking ride in heat 14, with the youngster passing both Paul Starke and Kyle Howarth in one swift move off the fourth bend to lead the race and pull away for his third win of the night. 

Another great race in Heat 15 saw the Lions gating on a 5-1 only for Nicholls and Bjerre to pass Riss and relegate him to the back, while the Aces gave chase and have both riders passing Lasse Bjerre for a 5-1 – Lasse though wasn’t done and came right back to split the pair up again with Nicholls forcing his way back in front, and on the final bend it saw the two Bjerre’s fighting it out with Lasse Bjerre pinching second off his brother on the run to the line.


Leicester Lions = 40

1. Kim Nilsson – 0 1′ 2 1 2′ = 6+2
2. Erik Riss – 3 2 2 2 3 0 = 12
3. Lasse Bjerre – 0 2 Fx 2 3 2 = 9
4. Kyle Howarth (G) – Xt 1′ 2 1 2 = 6+1
5. Pawel Przedpelski – R/R (ER-2, KN-2, KH-1, LB-3) = 8
6. Josh Bates – 2 1 1′ 0 = 4+1
7. Todd Kurtz (G) – 1′ 1′ 1′ 0 0 = 3+3

Belle Vue Aces = 50

1. Kenneth Bjerre – 2 3 3 3 1 1 = 13
2. Craig Cook – R/R (SW-1′, PS-0, KB-3, SN-2′) = 6+2
3. Steve Worrall – 1′ 2′ 3 2 1 = 9+2
4. Paul Starke (G) – 3 0 R 0 1 = 4
5. Scott Nicholls (G) – 3 3 3 2′ 0 3 = 14+1
6. Dan Bewley – 3 0 0 3 3 = 9
7. Jack Smith – 0 0 1 = 1