After defeating Surrey Storm in the London derby on Monday, London Pulse were unable to take a second consecutive victory, falling short to Strathclyde Sirens with a score of 38 to 48. Pulse managed to create disruption and defensive pressure for the Scottish outfit, but credit to some sharp shooting from POM Niamh McCall the London side fell short at the final whistle.
Sirens got out to a blistering start in the first few minutes of the game, taking an early lead 3-0. Defensive pressure particularly from Taylor Cullen and Towera Vinkhumbo was making it difficult for the Pulse attacking line to find Sigi Burger under the post. Both teams continued to work their way into the game, sussing each other out and exchanging turnovers as the quarter progressed.
Sirens were out to a 5-2 advantage after a quick and tenacious opening few minutes, but the Pulse defensive unit of Halimat Adio, Lindsay Keable and Funmi Fadjou started to disrupt the flow and make an impact in the game. Sam Bird made an early change to bring on Ash Dekker into centre to try and create more attacking options for the London side. Both teams wrestled for possession in the final few minutes with Sirens taking the opening quarter by 12 goals to 6.
Sirens maintained their good form in the second quarter with a turnover on the circle edge and continued to punish at the post, taking the first three goals of the term. Kira Rothwell answered with a defensive win for Pulse and the Roses Futures athlete was doing everything to grab hold of some momentum for her side. Sirens maintained their seven-goal advantage and were smothering in defence and challenging every ball.
However, Pulse were not giving up and their battle to win possession paid off with a held ball which they were able to convert. Some lovely shooter to shooter play between Burger and Lefébre Rademan saw Pulse bring the scoreline back within five, but Vinkumbo had other ideas and snatched an intercept for the Scottish side. This gave Sirens a lift and credit to some sharp shooting from Niamh McCall, they went on a three-goal run in the final minutes of the quarter. At the half time break Sirens were in control of the game with a 24-16 lead.
Wholesale changes from London Pulse in the second half saw Olivia Tchine and Kira Rothwell combine in the shooting circle, and the inclusion of Jamaican international Adean Thomas at wing attack. Thomas immediately made an impact with a long feed into Tchine which gave Pulse a much-needed confidence boost. Youngster Zara Everitt replaced Lindsay Keable in goal defence and her speed and tagging ability was making life difficult for the Sirens attacking unit, forcing a held ball.
By the six-minute mark, Sirens began to adjust to the changes and maintained their eight-goal lead despite the tenacity of the Pulse back line. Sirens continued to turn the screw and hit 30 goals, with the gap now out to 10. Pulse continued to hustle for the ball in defence with Zara Everitt picking up a crucial rebound. This sparked the London side to go on a four-goal run credit to some long feeds into Tchine under the post. Sirens regained composure in the final few minutes and a huge long bomb goal from McCall took the scoreline out to 35-28.
No changes from either side in the final quarter and Tchine scored quickly for Pulse in the opening few seconds to try and narrow the gap. The defensive pressure from Sirens continued with a tip from Emily Nicholl to extend the margin back out to eight. Another defensive win from Everitt saw Pulse claw their way back into the contest and a lovely connection between Rattu in wing defence and Tchine under the post gave the London side another surge of momentum.
Pulse were back within four with just 4½ minutes left to play, but a trademark interception from Nicholl gave Sirens the edge. The Scottish side put their foot down firmly in the final minutes taking a convincing 10 goal victory.
Both teams are scheduled to play back to back games in this doubleheader weekend, with London Pulse taking on reigning champions Manchester Thunder, and Strathclyde Sirens facing Leeds Rhinos in the battle for sixth place on the table.