Loughborough Lightning came out on top once again on Monday night after securing a nail biting 57 – 46 win over Scottish side Sirens, in the latest round of the Vitality Netball Superleague.
In the second leg of the bank holiday weekend, Loughborough Lightning travelled to Glasgow eager to rewrite Saturday’s loss against Wasps.
The last time both sides met back in March, Lightning used their home court advantage to record a 66-51 win. With starting wing attack Hannah Joseph ruled out due to injury, and a short 48 hour turnaround, Lightning faced a tough 60 minutes ahead of them.
Opting for a revised line-up, Lightning got off to a slow start. With Walker moving to wing attack, it took the girls in purple a while adjust to their surroundings, Sirens taking the early lead. Fast hands from England Roses player, Cobden and an increased pressure from the defensive unit saw Lightning begin to pick up the pace, ending the quarter with just a six point deficit.
Quarter 1: 10 – 16
With five minutes to reflect on the opening quarter, Head Coach Karen Atkinson sprang into action, making crucial changes to the line-up. Panagarry moved to the wing attack position whilst newcomer Rosie Harris stepped up to the centre spot for the first time this season.
Currently training with the squad full time, Harris has been a valued member of the U21’s this season. Heading out against an unchanged Sirens side, Lightning were keen to pull the score line back in their favour.
The second quarter saw Sirens step up a gear, each side executing their centre passes perfectly. Lightning however saw their chance when Sirens fell prevalent to an injury, causing the opposition to pull back slightly in order to readjust.
Impressive interceptions from Oyesola then saw Lightning build their confidence, bringing the score line to a lot safer number.
Quarter 2: 24 – 25
The third quarter has more recently become Lightning’s pivotal aspect of the game and with the end in sight, each and every player remained calm and composed with one goal in their minds.
Both teams eager to avoid mistakes, the score line added up consecutively with practically perfect shooting from Proscovia and Clark. Lightning finally broke through Sirens barrier mid-way through the quarter to take the lead and finish with a massive eight point advantage.
Quarter 3: 43 – 35
A strong start was all that Lightning needed to secure their win and with the likes of Cobden and Oyesola furiously turning over Sirens attack, that’s exactly what they got. Lightning’s tight defensive unit continuously hassled the Sirens shooters in order to force errors before turning over the ball to the ready and waiting attackers.
Boosted by the confidence and experience of Panagarry and Clark, debutant Harris slotted into the make up to deliver the ball safely to Proscovia’s magic hands.
As the final whistle sounded Lightning breathed a sigh of relief after one of the toughest weekends of the season so far. Their twelfth win cements their place at the top of the league and increases their profile as the team to beat in 2017.
Final Score: 57 – 46
Head Coach Karen Atkinson reflected on the night’s events;
“I’m extremely pleased with how the girls fought and battled hard to come out with the win in Glasgow against a tough Sirens outfit. Although we didn’t start as we know we can, the girls gradually took a hold of the game and their mental resilience shone through.
I’m also extremely pleased with Rosie Harris who came on at C for her VNSL & Lightning debut. She came into the squad as a temporary replacement for Hannah Joseph and did an outstanding job. She’s been training with us all season and it’s great to see how seamlessly she fitted in”
Lightning now look ahead to their final away match at Surrey Storm on Saturday 6th May before returning home. On Monday 15th May 2017 Lightning welcome Hertfordshire Mavericks to Loughborough University in the 15th round of the VSNL.
Tickets are on sale now and can be found here: http://loughboroughsport.com/loughborough-lightning/fixturesandresults/