Strathclyde Sirens were made to work hard as they bounced back to winning ways in netball’s Vitality Superleague.
The Scots started the game 14 points ahead of Surrey Storm in the standings and were strong favourites to do the double over Mikki Austin’s side.
Storm, though, gave the Scots a fright staying on level terms until half time before the brilliance of Niamh McCall and Emma Barrie secured a double figures margin of victory for Glasgow-based Sirens.
It was the perfect tonic for Sirens following last week’s tough loss to Leeds Rhinos.
Technical director Karen Atkinson said: “I don’t think we were overly pleased with that performance but I think it’s a good position to be in where you’re not playing particularly well but you hang on in the game then push ahead in the last quarter.
“I’d rather they stepped up the overall team performance earlier but I’ll take the scoreline and the win.”
Sirens defensive star Emily Nicholl, who was named player of the match, said: “There were patches of some really good stuff but we’re really ambitious so we know we have a lot more to give.”
Barrie back at it 💪
The teenager produces a great long bomb to draw her @SirensNetball side level at half-time 🚨
She's now scored more than 300 goals this season 👏 pic.twitter.com/W62KDOWru4
— Vitality Netball Superleague (@NetballSL) May 9, 2021
The match, a home tie for Sirens, was the latest played at London’s Copper Box Arena under the sport’s Covid restrictions Storm, wearing black armbands in memory of Zimbabwe’s national coach Ledwin Dondo who died last week, flew into a quick 6-2 lead.
But by the end of the first quarter the advantage had evaporated.
The game was tied at 12-12 at that point with a clear momentum shift towards Sirens as Storm paid the price for some early indiscipline.
The English side steadied though and managed to stay in touch throughout the second spell.
They even edged ahead before a buzzer beater from Emma Berry ensured that the second quarter also finished with a 12-12 deadlock leaving the overall score at 24-24 going into the half time break.
Sirens started to pull away in the third, though and Barry put them four ahead, a lead they managed to maintain and stretch to six at the third buzzer.
With Nicholl and Malawian star Towera Vinkhumbo increasingly dominant in defence and Barry and McCall consistent in attack, the result was clear long before the final buzzer sounded.
The result meant no change to Sirens mid-table league position but they still carry faint play off hopes going into their next match with Wasps Netball next week.