The game was goal to goal for the best part of three quarters, before Pulse stepped up a gear to bring momentum back their way and end with a 41-43 win against Surrey Storm.
After the opening round of 2021 VNSL where Pulse lost to Storm by two goals, and sitting next to each other in the league positioning, this clash was never going to disappoint, and it was an excellent display of netball throughout.
The first quarter consisted of end-to-end netball, in which both teams took a little bit of time to settle into the intense affair. Pulse got early turnover in the Storm shooting circle, with Halimat Adio causing trouble with her reach, backed up on the circle edge by Ellie Rattu who was incredibly confident across all areas of the court.
After capitalising on turnover, Storm put the defensive pressure back on Pulse and managed to claw back a 4-goal deficit, finishing the first 12 minutes drawn at 10-10.
Going into the second quarter, nothing could separate these two sides. Pressure from Storm’s defence was mounting, but the attacking unit found rhythm, with the Player of the Match, Sigi Burger presenting to the ball well and offering a variety of options. Alongside Kira Rothwell at WA and Rademan at GA, they kept the scoreboard ticking and ensured any turnover was made the most of.
However, turnover ball began to get much harder to win, as Storm’s attack also found a structure that was proved hard to stop, as they took a 4-goal lead in the middle of the quarter.
Pulse stepped it up and worked tirelessly off the ball to create turnover opportunity, and through court did an excellent job to bring it back to all square going into half time, tied up on 21-21.
The second half proved to continue to be a hard-fought affair between the two sides as just 1 goal separated them at the end of the third quarter. Fadoju came on at WD and had immediate impact, slowing down the attack from Storm and winning some much-needed ball.
The pressure and intensity on court was evident, with the umpires having to step in at certain points on some calls, with the quarter finishing 31-30 to Pulse.
The fourth quarter displayed pure determination and graft from Pulse, who never let Storm get away from them for the duration of the game and now could see a chance to go ahead.
After two crucial turnovers from Fadoju and Keable, Pulse doubled up, and took a three-goal lead as well as feeling a momentum switch towards them. Ash Dekker came on at centre and gave fresh legs and new options to the circle as Burger and Rademan’s connections grew up and commanded their space.
The extensive defensive pressure from Pulse, tiring Storm out meant they could not get back into the game, with an incredibly impressive fight back in the fourth quarter for the home side to emerge victorious by two goals.
The London derby proved to have every twist in the tale possible, with momentum and rhythm switching between the sides for all four quarters. Although, in the end, the growing Pulse side put the hard yards in and used their experience to ensure they did repeat the same fortune as the opening round.
Head Coach and CEO Sam Bird, had this to say “It’s always important to see growth of a squad. To be able to take the win and keep a calm head in the last quarter is a huge step in the right direction for us. I’m delighted with the squad’s ability to close out a close game in our favour.”
We go now into a double header weekend at the CopperBox – facing Sirens and Thunder