Loughborough Lightning extended their winning run in the Vitality Netball Superleague after a convincing victory away at Team Northumbria.
Making the long journey north, the Loughborough University based outfit notched up their eighth win on the bounce as they got the better of the hosts 70-47. A magical third quarter, similar to that away at Dragons earlier in the week, was the deciding factor, with Lightning overcoming some strong Northumbria defensive play to deliver another decisive victory.
The game got off to an erratic start, but the girls in purple got plenty of ball in to star shooter Peace Proscovia,with the Loughborough University student putting them 5-1 up. Despite Vicky Oyesola producing some fine interceptions to break up the Northumbria attack, the hosts didn’t lie down, ensuring the first quarter was a close and at times nervy affair.
By the half-way point in the second quarter it was clear that Lightning’s speed through the court was starting to tell, the impressive team chemistry capped off by Proscovia and Walker’s sharp shooting. With the score at 27-19 Lightning continued to press hard, with captain Nat Panagarry calling the shots from centre court to ensure the visitors had a healthy half-time lead.
Although nine to the good the game was far from over, but after plenty of encouragement from the Lightning bench, Loughborough started on the front foot, eager to extend their winning run to eight. Captain Panagarry and Hannah Joseph, both England internationals, showed their class time and time again around the circle, with clever link-up play providing golden opportunities for the attack. Peace Proscovia kept her phenomenal average going, while Jamaican international Vanessa Walker was again on top form, scoring left, right and centre. With just a couple of minutes left of the quarter Lightning had pulled well clear at 49-28.
Returning to court with a 25-point lead, it was Lightning’s to lose – something they had no intention of doing. Ella Clark was introduced at GA just before the end of the third quarter, and the debutant got on the score-sheet as she began to settle in to the high tempo Lightning style of play. Ella Gibbons and Olivia Mason also got some court time at GK and GS respectively, as Lightning wrapped up what in the end was a very convincing victory.
Analysing the team’s performance, Head Coach Karen Atkinson said:
“I’m really pleased with both the score-line and the performance tonight, especially the way we were able to pull away in third quarter. Team Northumbria provided us with a tough challenge, particularly their circle defence, but I thought we handled it well.
“Nat Panagarry and Hannah Joseph worked exceptionally well around the circle, really dictating the play and it was also good to get Ella Clarke on for her first Lightning game of the season.”
Loughborough Lightning return home on Easter Monday where they face Team Bath at 4pm. Tickets are on sale now so why not treat the family to a spectacular showcase of netball this Easter?
Tickets can be bought online at: www.loughboroughlightning.com.