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Zara Everitt

Image: Morgan Harlow

London Pulse captain Zara Everitt vowed that her side will come back stronger after they were beaten 57-48 by Loughborough Lightning in the 2023 Netball Super League Grand Final. 

Pulse made their maiden appearance in the showpiece event and enjoyed a blistering start as they raced into a 7-1 lead inside the opening few minutes.

Sam Bird’s side were unable to ever take full control of the contest in front of a sold-out Copper Box Arena crowd, with Lightning slowly reeling them back in before taking a dominant lead after half-time that they failed to relinquish.

But Everitt insisted that her side will be better for the experience and will be back to finish the job at next year’s Grand Final.

She said: “We absolutely had the belief going into this game that we could win, and we know that had everything come together on the day we could have taken it to Loughborough, we beat them twice this season, but they were too good.

“They were super clinical with ball in hand, we didn’t look after our turnovers.

“We have made history just by being here and we knew that coming into it but of course, you always want more.

“It is what I said to the girls at the end, there are always positives to take from this. Off the court, we had an amazing experience as a team and we will take that forward going into next season.

“I know that this club is going to be gunning for more. We have Sam at the helm who is super ambitious, and we will be looking for that trophy next year.”

Pulse enjoyed a dream start, as Everitt intercepted a ball within the first minute to shift the momentum in favour of the regular season table-toppers.

But Lightning, who have appeared in the last three Grand Finals, used all their experience to eventually find their feet with Player of the Match Fran Williams producing two vital interceptions to help level the scores just after half-time before moving four goals in front with 15 minutes remaining.

Pulse fought to get back into the game in search of a first-ever title but were unable to break down an imperious Lightning side in full stride and head coach Sam Bird admitted they were beaten by the better side.

“We already have the squad to win it, but we were beaten by a better team today,” she said.

“That’s Loughborough’s third final, it’s our first and we will learn from it and come back stronger.

“Anyone that knows me knows that I am never satisfied. We want to be unashamedly ambitious with what we create, we want to find players that don’t even know how good they are and coach them, inspire them, and we will be back.

“The job is never done, the seasons roll into each other. It is really important to get a good roster, it is really important to get players who want to play for the club.

“I think you can see today the players were proud to play for the club and that is part of our thinking on who we recruit; it is not about individuals it is about what they can give to the club. That is already in progress.”

The Netball Super League is the UK’s elite domestic netball competition and features ten teams from England, Wales and Scotland. For more information visit netballsl.com

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