Superleague 2015: Surrey seek Manchester Thunder revenge

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Surrey Storm eye elusive title

Surrey Storm will be looking to avenge last season's dramatic Grand Final defeat when they face champions Manchester Thunder in Monday's Superleague opener.

Storm finished the season unbeaten at the top of the table in 2014.

But Thunder took the title when Helen Housby scored with the last play of the game to earn a 49-48 win.

"It was quite a traumatic end to what was an amazing season," Surrey shooter Rachel Dunn told BBC London.

"We went unbeaten during the season and didn't even play badly in the final, but we were beaten by a better team on the day.

Helen Housby scores for Manchester Thunder
Helen Housby scored a dramatic late winner to win the Superleague title for Manchester Thunder in April

"It took a while to get over but you have to let these losses drive you on. We'll hopefully use the hurt to push us on."

Thunder's victory in Worcester last April gave Tracey Neville's side their second title in two years and prolonged Surrey's five-year wait for a trophy.

But former England captain Neville, sister of former footballers Gary and Phil, is under no illusions about how difficult it will be when they come up against Storm again.

"The game on Monday is definitely not going to be easy, especially being champions," she told BBC Radio Manchester.

"Every team in the competition will want to come for us. To retain the title will be difficult but we're not going to give it up easily.

"Monday is massive and the whole occasion is going to be bigger than everything else."

Superleague 2015 - opening fixtures
26 Jan - Manchester Thunder v Surrey Storm30 Jan - Yorkshire Jets v Loughborough Lightning
31 Jan - Team Northumbria v Team Bath31 Jan - Celtic Dragons v Hertfordshire Mavericks

Surrey Storm are led by player-coach Tamsin Greenway and she played a major part in attracting England team-mate Pamela Cookey to the club from rivals Team Bath for the 2015 season.

"I threw it out there and when she eventually said she'd like a new challenge this year, I came straight to the office and said 'we're signing Pamela Cookey. Whatever she wants, let's get her'," said Greenway.

"Some of the new girls in the squad were wowed to be playing with her and you can't replace that - someone of her quality, not only for her playing ability but what the name means to the fans and players."

Manchester have three home games to start the season, but also face the other two play-off finalists from last year in Team Bath and Hertfordshire Mavericks.

Yorkshire Jets host Loughborough, Bath travel to Team Northumbria and Celtic Dragons meet the Mavericks in the opening round of fixtures.

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