Bayman’s Thunder ready to cause a storm

Australia's Paige Hadley (left) and England's Sara Bayman during the third international series match at The Copper Box Arena
Australia's Paige Hadley (left) and England's Sara Bayman during the third international series match at The Copper Box Arena

MANCHESTER Thunder captain Sara Bayman hopes England’s recent test series against Australia will help her clubmates to Superleague glory.

The former Upholland High School student leads her club side out tomorrow afternoon in the season opener against Team Northumbria in Birmingham.

Contributing five players to the England squad is good for Thunder as a franchise – we will all slot back in

Sara Bayman

The season starts on the back of a three-match test series against Australia last week and although it ended in a whitewash defeat, Bayman feels progress is being made at international and club level.

Manchester Thunder contributed five players to England’s new look squad, following a spate of retirements following last year’s World Cup, and despite it eating into their pre-season preparation, Bayman says the extra experience can put last season’s league leaders at an advantage.

“Everyone is excited to get started,” she told the Evening Post.

“We have a long pre-season and everyone not involved in England has been training hard.

“Contributing five players to the England squad is good for Thunder as a franchise – we will all slot back in.

“Most of the girls would see it as a positive, it’s nice to get match fitness and hopefully we’ll see the fruits of that when we play.”

The season starts with the first ever Super Saturday at Birmingham’s Genting Arena, an event similar to rugby league’s Magic Weekend.

Thunder’s match with 2015 wooden spoonists Team Northumbria starts at 6pm in front of the Sky Sports cameras, and is coach Dan Ryan’s first in charge of the club.

“It’s a great chance to showcase the sport,” said Bayman.

“All the games are live in Birmingham and more than 7,000 tickets have gone for it.

“I think the inspiration could have come from the success of Magic Weekend and what Super League rugby has done wit that.”

And Thunder will be aiming to improve on last season, where they finished third after topping the table in the regular season.

“We want to win it but a lot of clubs will be saying that,” Byaman said.

“We’ll take it game by game until the play-offs.”