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Sara Bayman: “We will now look ahead”

Loughborough Lightning showcased their new look team for the first time on Saturday in the first of their pre-season tournaments.

Eager to put their new combinations to the test, Lightning welcomed fellow Vitality Netball Superleague sides Team Bath and Strathclyde Sirens to Loughborough University for a tournament style fixture.

At the helm for the first time in their home venue, Head Coach Sara Bayman used each quarter as an opportunity to test combination and give all players crucial game time.

She said: “The aim of today was always to expose players, to work on combinations and to test some players out.

“I think we did that, we managed to get everyone on court, giving them some good court time and managed to get some different combinations out there and really have a look at people.”

Despite losing both their matches, Bayman cited the difference between the two matches as promising and encouraging.

She said: “I think there’s a mixed bag from today, everyone was really disappointed with our performance against Sirens and I think you saw a bit of rustiness from the girls as it’s a long time between finishing the Vitality Netball Superleague and playing again at this level.

“We had a much-improved performance against Bath and I think that’s a real indication of what we can really do moving forward.

“I think for me what was pleasing to see the reaction from game one to game two where the girls were really down after game one but that fight and spirit to come out and play really well against Bath was really pleasing.”

In the absence of Nat Panagarry due to international duties, Lightning were led by Hannah Joseph who makes up this year’s leadership group, alongside Vicki Oyesola who’s performance on the day really set the standard of what’s to come.

Bayman said: “In terms of standout performances, I think Vicki Oyesola had a fantastic day across both games and Hannah Joseph did a great job leading the team.

“Our shooting combinations are now starting to gel, they’re starting to find their way around the circle show us what they can do.”

Next weekend Lightning will travel to Manchester Thunder in their next pre-season fixture.

Drawing from the day’s events, Bayman is now planning for the forthcoming month, she said: “We will now look ahead to our away game against Thunder on Saturday which is another good test for us and another opportunity to improve and build.

“Over the next month or so it’s about every day improving and making sure we know our systems and know how we want to play and that everyone is clear and understands their role in all situations.

“It will be really nice to have Nat and Ella back from international duty and have some opportunity to get them back in the mix and enjoy working as a whole squad to build connections and build understanding.”

Tickets are now on sale for Super 10 – get your squad together and head to the season opener on Saturday 5th January 2019 at Arena Birmingham!