Loughborough Lightning sealed their second home win of the season on Saturday with a resounding performance over Strathclyde Sirens.
A fairly even opening quarter saw both sides claim their opening goals, keeping the score line level for much of the first five minutes. Revelling under the noise of a 900 strong home crowd, Cholhok and Clark worked seamlessly together to safely sink the shots, whilst skipper Panagarry slipped effortlessly into the defensive line-up as the starting wing defence. The clock ticked down with both sides upping their work rate to keep the ball safe and look for crucial gaps in order to push ahead. It was Lightning however that took the early lead by just one point at the end of the quarter.
End of Quarter 1: Loughborough Lightning 13 – 12 Strathclyde Sirens
Increasing the pressure and physicality to try and cause error in the oppositions attack, the second quarter saw both sides eager to turn the ball and put points on the board. Flying interceptions from Keenan and Oyesola teamed with Clark’s long bombs meant Lightning were able to keep control of the game and finish the second half still in the lead.
Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 26 – 27 Strathclyde Sirens
Lightning came back for the second half fresh and determined, eager to ignore the increasingly physical opposition and finally put a gap between them. And boy did they do that. Keeping their calm and playing their own game, Lightning looked after each ball and ramped up their speed to steal incoming balls from Sirens attack. All of this teamed together saw them increase their lead over the visitors leading into the final 15 minutes.
End of Quarter 3: Loughborough Lightning 45 – 38 Strathclyde Sirens
Changes to the Lightning side saw Lucy Parize coming on at the GA position, giving Ella Clark a much-needed break and moment to refocus on the game. Showing no signs of nerves, Parize treated the crowd to some of her Fast5 long drops allowing the rest of the squad to continue with their winning campaign.
Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 60 – 49 Strathclyde Sirens
“I’m really happy to have another win under our belt, it took us a while to adapt to the increased physicality of the match but once we did we were able to play our own game and bring it home. Lucy came on and stepped up, its key to give our younger players the time to gain experience in high pressure situations and she really adapted well.”
Ugandan shooter and recent signing for Lightning, Mary Cholhok was named Player of the Match after an outstanding performance in her first home match.
Bayman explained her choice;
“She was awesome, she looked full of confidence tonight which is what we want. Some of her angles weren’t right at the beginning but she quickly found her own and her shooting was outstanding.”
Cholhok was keen to express her excitement at playing at Loughborough for the first time;
“By the time they blew the final whistle I wished it was just starting again. I found the match really fun, the energy was great from the girls and also the home crowd. I loved the support of the crowd tonight, they really were amazing.”
The night was not only a success on court but also off court with games, activities, raffles and auctions all totalling a whopping £1600 raised for Cancer Research UK.
Lightning would like to thank all of you who came down, showed your support and got behind the team for such a great cause.