The Adelaide Thunderbirds have set a new record for the longest winning streak in the trans-Tasman netball championship, following a victory over the NSW Swifts on Monday night.
In front of almost a full house at Netball SA Stadium, the home side turned up the heat in a tight contest to beat the Swifts 50-49.
The win was the T-Birds’ 16th in a row, having not lost a game since round three last season and the visitors’ first loss this season.
Despite leading by seven goals mid-way through the second term, the home side was forced into making some costly ball handling mistakes as the immense defensive pressure from the Swifts intensified.
The visitors managed to sneak back into the game and had the scores locked at 31-all at half time.
The match see-sawed until less than two minutes to go, when the scores were again level at 49-all.
But the T-Birds remained composed and cool under the pressure and a last minute goal by goal attack Erin Bell allowed the home side to take out the match by one point.
Thunderbirds coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson praised the efforts of goalkeeper Samantha Poolman, who recorded two rebounds and one crucial intercept.
“I think Shimmo was getting pushed off the ball a little bit by Thwaites and we thought Poolan was a good change up for that,” Woodlands-Thompson said.
“She was absolutely outstanding tonight, and when she came on we went five goals in front.
“She did exactly what we needed her to do and it was a very good physical match up.”
Woodlands-Thompson said the team was “chuffed” to break the record for the most winning streak, which now sits on 16, after not losing a match since round three last year.
It’s not something we focused on exclusively because that would’ve been a distraction, but it’s a remarkable achievement by the players and staff that have represented our club over the past two seasons,” she said.
Meantime, Swifts coach Rob Wright labelled the T-Birds the “masters of close wins”, but was disappointed his side was unable to hold on to snatch the win.
“Full credit to the Thunderbirds … They were able to do it again tonight,” Wright said.
“It was a brave effort, but like all coaches I’m disappointed to lose.”