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Alice Harvey of Loughborough Lightning vs London Pulse Vitality Netball Superleague 05/02/2022.

Alice Harvey of VNSL side Loughborough Lightning (Image: Ben Lumely)

Loughborough Lightning have a connection unlike any other off court and Alice Harvey can testify to the depths of their friendships.

The newly appointed Vitality Rose is back for her third season with the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague runners-up and is excited to grow once more with her team.

An easily entertained group, Harvey confirmed that even in the small-town depths of Loughborough, the Lightning squad are able to find fun both off and on the court and use it to their advantage.

“Loughborough’s so different to any other team that I’ve been in, they’re such a close-knit group I think everybody can quite confidently say that they can speak to anybody,” said the 21-year-old.

“Our friendships are more than just on court and because of that genuine friendship, we want to put out the performances for each other.

“I think that this year there was a moment where we had a lot of injury in the squad and we were worried that without Mary [Cholhok], what would we do but we were absolutely fine.

“We were able to use our bench and people got some great opportunities from that, like the likes of Emma Thacker and that was just testament to us and how much confidence we have in each other.

“That was when I really felt like we were really connected and drilled in together.”

Harvey will take to the Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham this evening as England take on Uganda in the first of their three-test series.

And the defender is excited not just for the chance to earn her first senior international cap, but to do so by marking her Loughborough teammate Mary Cholhok who will provide a beacon of friendship amongst the nerves.

Harvey said: “With this being potentially my first cap I’m just really excited to take in all the opportunities.

“There’s definitely a lot of nerves there but I think the prospect of playing against either Mary or Peace, who I’ve played both of them in the Superleague. I’ve got some knowledge on them already which gives me a little bit more reassurance.

“I think it will be strange and I do know how Mary likes to play but under a different spotlight it’s going to be completely different stage compared to in the Loughborough Netball Centre.”

“To be able to have women’s live sport available people is great.

“To have one of the series tests in Nottingham and then two in London is great to travel up and down the country for more exposure.”

After Loughborough lost their Superleague crown to Manchester Thunder in the 2022 Grand Final at the Copper Box Arena, Vic Burgess’ squad will be on the hunt for more in 2023.

Thunder took the title with a 60-53 win but Harvey finds solace in her team’s rallying determination over the game to put up a fighting performance.

And with Lightning seeing less movement than most in the 2023 Signing Window, Harvey believes that their already established friendships can lead the way.

She said: “I feel really good, as a club we definitely have high standards and not to get the win last year but come as close as we did and to lose like we did, we easily could have gone a few more down and I think that shows absolute character for us in the way we lost.

“And to get so close but to not quite do it just makes us even more hungry to go out and get it this year.

“There’s been a lot of movement and I think it will be interesting but Lightning can definitely use that to our advantage in that we’ve been able to retain our core group.

“Not a lot of other teams have been able to do that and then we’ve got the likes of Rhea [Dixon] and Jas [Odeogberin] who are hopefully going to add to our team.

“I think we’ll be fine but there will be some new exciting challenges this year.”

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