Superleague 2015: Manchester Thunder 55-52 Surrey Storm

Manchester Thunder v Surrey Storm
Manchester Thunder pipped Surrey to the Superleague title last year

Champions Manchester Thunder opened the 2015 Superleague campaign with a 55-52 win over Surrey Storm.

Surrey finished unbeaten at the top of the table last year but the silverware went to Thunder after they scored a last-minute winner in the Grand Final.

Tracey Neville's side went in 29-21 ahead at half-time on Monday and raced 11 points clear in the third quarter.

Surrey pulled back the deficit to five going into the last 15 minutes but were unable to catch the hosts.

Thunder's Australian import Chelsea Pitman was named player of the match on her debut, while England goal attack and co-captain Pamela Cookey made her return for Storm after signing from rivals Team Bath for 2015.

Paul Scholes at netball
Former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Scholes was watching in the stands on Monday

Speaking after her side's win, head coach Neville told BBC Radio Manchester: "Our defence in that first-half was amazing. I think it was one of the best performances we've had in the four years I've been at Manchester Thunder.

"I do think our attack at times could have rewarded our defenders, in respect to taking that game on.

"I asked them to put out a performance to set our own standard and I do think we achieved that today. I do think we will get better and stronger."

Surrey player-coach Tamsin Greenway added: "There's no pressure now - we don't have to think about going through the season undefeated, with everyone asking 'are you going to win this one?'.

"Obviously we're disappointed with the loss but not with the performance."

Superleague 2015 - Round one
26 Jan - Manchester Thunder 55-52 Surrey Storm30 Jan - Yorkshire Jets v Loughborough Lightning
31 Jan - Team Northumbria v Team Bath31 Jan - Celtic Dragons v Hertfordshire Mavericks