sports gazette

Surrey Storm’s Georgia Lees thrilled to reclaim Netball London Live crown

Published: 12 Mar 2017

Surrey Storm secured a commanding 67-45 victory over Hertfordshire Mavericks at the Copper Box Arena to continue their perfect start to the 2017 Vitality Superleague.

The defending champions completely outclassed their opponents to record the largest ever winning margin in London Live history and avenge last year’s first defeat to Mavs in this event.

Storm wing attack Georgia Lees was understandably delighted but also surprised at the ease with which her side saw out the game.

Speaking exclusively to Sports Gazette, she said: “I think before we came out we said Storm against Mavericks is always such a close game and we’ve got to be prepared and ready to go down to the end of the 60 minutes – it’s a mental battle.

“But to come out after half time and take the lead by 18 goals I think was just amazing.”

Head coach Tania Hoffman said post-game that it was impossible for her to single out any of her players for praise.

And Lees reiterated how the group all pulled together to secure such a convincing victory, displaying great athleticism, grit, communication and slick link-up and transitioning play through the court.

She said: “I think that’s the best we’ve played as a team.

“I mean we got the majority of our players on the court in such a big event – that’s just absolutely great for us with everyone on the court putting in an effort.

“Those players can come on and feel at ease when they do. “

London Live is the UK’s biggest domestic match and a highlight on the netball calendar.

Crowds have been growing year on year for the event at the iconic Olympic Park and the players always thrive on the atmosphere.

Lees said: “It’s so good, isn’t it?

“I love playing here. It’s always such a good event.

“Even at half time when the schools were playing it was still so loud.

“The crowd just kept on going for the whole game and they’ve all hung around here after for an hour – it’s just been wicked.

“A big thank you to all the staff behind the event that actually put all of this on.”

We’re still four from four so I think as a confidence boost that’s really good

A celebratory atmosphere filled the arena post-match with the players taking the time to enjoy the moment with their loyal fans.

The club website says that Lees’ party trick is doing the worm but when asked if this was also her celebration dance she couldn’t contain her laughter, admitting the information is a bit out of date.

She said: “I think that was when I was about 15 before I had aches and pains everywhere.

“I’m only 23 now but I don’t think I could get down and do the worm on the court – I think I’d tear a muscle!”

Whether she can be convinced to give it a go if Storm secure their third consecutive title remains to be seen.

Despite such a comprehensive win, there’s still a long way to go this season with plenty more twists and turns expected.

After a significant number of high-profile departures from the 2016 season, several Storm players came out and said that the team would aim for top four at the start of the campaign.

But Lees has admitted that the possibility of challenging to be crowned champions once again is definitely on the cards.

She said: “We’re such a new team this year in terms of a lot of new players coming into the team.

“It’s the fourth game in and we’re still four from four so I think as a confidence boost that’s really good for us.”

Storm will be determined to maintain their perfect start when they travel to Team Bath for Round 5 on Monday 20th March.

And Lees reckons the five-time champions could be their toughest opponents yet.

She said: “I think so far up until that game Mavericks has been our biggest test.

“The teams are so good this year.

“You can’t call it so we’ll just take one game at a time and see how it goes.”

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