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O'Hanlon in top form to help Manchester Thunder roll forward

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Caroline O’Hanlon

Caroline O’Hanlon

Caroline O’Hanlon

Champions Manchester Thunder completed a powerful weekend double by thumping play-off hopefuls Saracens Mavericks 59-37 in last night's Superleague game.

Mavericks came into this match buoyed by inflicting league leaders Team Bath's first defeat of the season on Sunday evening, but the physical and emotional intensity of that titanic tussle looked to have taken its toll as Thunder hit the ground running and got off to a flying start.

Thunder also benefited from Mavericks missing injured England goalkeeper Razia Quashie, with Malawi scoring machine Joyce Mvula a dominant figure up front for the champions.

Full of confidence from an impressive victory of their own the day before over Loughborough Lightning, they led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

Northern Ireland captain Caroline O'Hanlon had delivered a superb Player of the Match performance on Sunday afternoon as Thunder eclipsed Lightning 59-50.

Lightning had streaked ahead by four goals in the second quarter, but Thunder got on a real roll with 10 of the next 11 scores to lead 31-26 at half-time.

The introduction of basketballer Ella Clark alongside Uganda giant Mary Cholhok helped Lightning get back to within a single goal at the last break, however Thunder emphatically pulled away in the final quarter, with O'Hanlon's dazzling display out of position at wing attack keeping them on the front foot.

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Better known as a world-class centre, the 36-year-old from Bessbrook was controversially left out of Karen Greig's starting seven earlier in this campaign.

There was a big backlash from the Thunder faithful as the champions lost to both Bath and Wasps in a 24-hour period and O'Hanlon was restored to the side.

She came back in initially at centre but has shown she can also do a great job at wing attack.

Last night, Thunder were 30-20 up at half-time, widened the gap to 11 at the final interval and had the luxury of withdrawing O'Hanlon midway through the last period as they leapfrogged Mavericks, Wasps and Lightning to move into second place.


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