By Paul Prenderville

Who – Surrey Storm

When – Friday May 10, 7.30pm

Where – Copper Box Arena, London

First Season 2024 Meeting – Surrey Storm 46-62 London Pulse, Surrey Sports Park, Round 2

The end of the regular season is closing in and London Pulse can go a long way to confirming their place in the Superleague semi-finals with a win over fifth-placed Surrey Storm tonight.

Six games remain before the semi-finals and just two of them are at home for Pulse, starting with a match of huge significance against Storm.

Sam Bird’s squad are 12 points clear of Storm, so a win for the Pink and Black will leave them on the brink of securing their place in the last four for the third successive season.

There is also the target of securing a home semi-final, a prize that would come with a top two finish. So plenty to play for, as Pulse aim for an eighth successive victory.

After a nailbiting one goal win over Leeds Rhinos in Round 12, Bird and her squad are back at the Copper Box for the penultimate home game of the season.

And they’ll do so after the narrowest of victories that have kept Bird busy on the analysis side of the preparation this week.

“I’ve watched the Leeds game back numerous times, trying to see where we might be slightly underperforming and ultimately the error count was too high.

“But that was partly due to the Leeds pressure and partly due to ill-discipline so we need to fix that up – we cannot afford to make too many mistakes against Storm because they have options to score very quick goals with Peace and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis in their attacking line-up.

“Leeds are a good side, they shouldn’t be in the position they are in, they’ve been on the wrong side of a couple of really close matches.”

Storm have returned to form over the last few weeks, winning three of their last four games to lead the pack chasing down Severn Stars who currently occupy the final top four spot.

The only defeat over those last four rounds was against league leaders Manchester Thunder and Bird believes the experienced core will ensure a tough test in front of another bumper Copper Box crowd.

“It’s amazing to think we are here with just a couple of home games left – and a possible home semi-final ahead. Ticket sales have gone really well for this match and the fans have been great” the head coach said.

“It’s always a really exciting game against Storm, a bit like when we play against Mavs there’s a local rivalry that the fans enjoy.

“Surrey have got some very experienced players in their side, they enjoy the big arenas and they are very much in with a chance of the top four with a run of wins.

One change to the squad as Pulse see training partner Chloe Essam step up, with Halimat Adio unwell and unavailable for selection. Brie Grierson continues in her rehab from injury, but, Jade Clarke moves closer to minutes on the court – adding depth to the mid-court at the business end of the season.

As games and targets sharpen the mind, the run-in offers a chance to finetune combinations and game plans, something the team are relishing.

“We are looking – if we get the luxury – to see if we can see a few more Plan B options because we still have Thunder and Lightning to play again,” Bird added.

“We want to have a look at what we want to put out against them, and bearing in mind if we continue to win games we will meet those guys in the play-offs and finals.

“So it’s about building on what we are already doing well, but looking to see what else we can do to add value to our performances”

Squad – Jada Autumn, Chloe Essam, Funmi Fadoju, Jeresia McEachrane, Darcie Everitt, Zara Everitt, Jade Clarke, Isabella Phillips, Alicia Scholes, Nichole Taljaard, Berri Neil, Olivia Tchine.


Round 14 – Strathclyde Sirens, Away

Round 15 – Cardiff Dragons, Home

Round 16 – Manchester Thunder, Away

Round 17 – Loughborough Lightning, Away

Round 18 – Saracens Mavericks, Home


Head Coach: Mikki Austin

Last Season: 5th (W6 D0 L6 F68 A716 Pts 18)

Form – L L W W L W

Last Time Out – Won 63-56 v Team Bath (Away).

Starting Seven: GK – Muhameed; GD – Fee; WD – Harris; C – Austin; WA – Dix; GA – Drakeford-Lewis; GS – Peace.


Founder members of the NSL, having played in the competition every year since it began in 2005-06 – starting out as the Brunel Hurricanes and becoming Surrey Storm for the 2009-10 season. Reached five finals between 2011 and 2016, wrapping up their first titles when they went back-to-back under Tamsin Greenway in 2015 and 2016. Returned to the top four in 2023, the first time they had reached the play-offs since 2016 and they were beaten by London Pulse.


After back to back defeats against Severn Stars and Leeds Rhinos, Storm have won three of their last four games to remain within touching distance of the top four, sitting just 3 points behind Stars.

After a huge blow with injury to Amy Flanagan in the opening game of the season, Storm have bounced back in style – thanks in no small part to their shooting circle, led by the relentless Proscovia Peace who sits fifth in the Superleague shooting table. At the other end Haniisha Muhameed has enjoyed a brilliant first season in the UK trailing only Funmi Fadoju in gains to go with 17 interceptions.

Squad – Haniisha Muhameed, Anya Wood, Rachael Fee, Rosie Harris, Amy Howell, Leah Goss, Mikki Austin, Beth Dix, Ellie Gibbons, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Frankie Wells, Proscovia Peace.


Played – 11; London Pulse – 8; Surrey Storm – 3

There is never a dull moment when these two meet, with thrilling knife-edge matches almost a guarantee since Pulse entered the NSL in 2019 – Pulse have won the last six. The most high profile came less than a year ago, when the two clashed in the Superleague semi-final, Pulse coming away with a 13 goal win to seal a place in the Grand Final.

Last 5 meetings

Round 2, 2024 – Surrey Storm 56-62 London Pulse

NSL Semi-Final, 2023 – London Pulse 55-42 Surrey Storm

Round 14, 2023 – Surrey Storm 50-59 London Pulse

Round 5, 2023 – London Pulse 52-47 Surrey Storm

Round 19, 2022 – Surrey Storm 38-45 London Pulse


Friday, 7.30pm – Leeds Rhinos v Saracens Mavericks

Friday, 7.30pm – Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning

Saturday, 2pm – Strathclyde Sirens v Severn Stars

Saturday, 5pm – Manchester Thunder v Cardiff Dragons – live on BBC iPlayer