Wasps Netball Vs Celtic Dragons

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Ella clark vs dragons

Lightning make it four from four

Loughborough Lightning claimed their fourth win in a row in Cardiff on Saturday, after a dominant display over home side Celtic Dragons, sealing a 70-57 win.

Lightning went into the ninth round of the Vitality Netball Superleague sitting in the top four after a string of wins over Pulse, Thunder and Storm however their spot was far from safe with Bath and Thunder eagerly chomping at the bit to work into the top four. The match therefore became a crucial win for Lightning before they faced league leaders Wasps the following week.

A fast-paced start to the match saw Lightning firing on all cylinders to bring the ball safely down court and into the circle. Long passes into an airborne Cholhok saw the scoring tally rack up quickly. Dragons defence soon teamed up to apply pressure to Cholhok, leaving Clark an open circle to sink her famous long bombs. At the other end of the court meanwhile, Panagarry’s loud encouragement and Keenan’s sheer determination began to rattle the Dragons attacking circle despite the dominance of Chelsea Lewis.

End of Quarter 1: Loughborough Lightning 19-12 Celtic Dragons

Taking no time to slow the game down, Lightning returned to court and continued to keep up the speed and dominate the game. Tips on the circle edge from Oyesola and Panagarry halted the ball in getting to Dragon’s shooters whilst Shaw and Joseph worked the ball round the circle, disorientating the opposition before firing it into Cholhok and Clark who sank the shots. A series of calls from the umpires turned the ball back and forth before Lightning claimed the point and ended the first half with a strong eight-point lead.

Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 35-27 Celtic Dragons

A shaky start to the second half for the home side saw Dragons start with six. Despite moving Panagarry to centre and bringing on Loughborough Student Caroline Tarnowski at wing-defence, lightning ignored the home-sides need to regroup and pressed on. Chasing their tails, Dragons increased the physicality of the game resulting in much of the points being scored off penalties. Holding back their frustrations, Lighting pushed on and provided support at every level of the court to work it into the circle.

End of Quarter 3: Loughborough Lightning 54-40 Celtic Dragons

With a heightened lead of fourteen, Lightning came onto court confident and eager to bring home the win. An increased lead on the home side allowed Head Coach Sara Bayman to make changes on court and give the bench players vital game time. First onto court was Lucy Parize who took up the GA spot from veteran Clark with ease, allowing Lightning to continue with their progression. Boosted by the ease of her change, Bayman soon brought on Annabel Roddy at GD and Amy Clinton to GS who once again took no time at all to settle into the match and add more points to the board. The final change of the night was the reintroduction of Shaw to WA, allowing Hannah Joseph a well-earned rest. The clock soon ticked down and the final whistle confirmed victory for Loughborough Lightning.

Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 70-57 Celtic Dragons

Head Coach Sara Bayman explained how key the win was in gaining momentum for her side.

“We knew it was going to be tough travelling to Cardiff but I think we showed a lot of grit and determination tonight.

“We had really good patches and some not so great but at the end of the day the final score is what counts.

“I think securing our fourth win in a row was crucial as we head into the next fixture vs Wasps.

“We’ve talked a lot about momentum and how key it was to go into that Wasps fixture off the back of a good run.”

She also mentioned the importance of giving bench players more experience as the season goes on.

She said: “It was really good to give as many players as we could some court time tonight and those that did come off the bench played well, came on, did their job and slotted in nicely.

“Tonight’s match was the perfect example of why we need to be giving ourselves a nice early lead in order to bring those younger players on and give them key experience on court in different situations.”

Lightning’s next fixture is one of the most anticipated of the season as they welcome reigning champions Wasps to Loughborough on Monday 18th March. Broadcast live on sky, the girls in purple will be looking to put one past the opposition, who currently sit at the top of the table, in front of a home crowd.

Tickets to the clash are selling fast so if you want to witness all the action from Sir David Wallace Arena, secure your seats now by visiting www.loughboroughlightning.com

Tickets are now available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final!

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

Photo credit: Loughborough Lightning

Loughborough v Saracens

Lightning suffer away defeat

Loughborough Lightning took home a difficult defeat on Saturday night after a physical battle on the road with Saracens Mavericks clinching the 54 – 41 win in round three of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

The match started with a fairly even playing surface, Ugandan Shooter Mary Cholhok claimed her first Superleague start, whilst Lightning veterans Clark, Panagarry and Joseph continued to claim the starting mid-court spots. Facing an equally experienced side with England Roses sisters Sasha and Kadeen Corbin feeding directly into two-time superleague champion shooter Georgie Fisher.

Eager to impress their home fans for their first home match of the season, newly named Saracens Mavericks got off to a flying start, claiming the first four goals. But Lightning were soon making their mark in the game closing the gap. With both circle defenders keeping close to Cholhok, in an attempt to disrupt Joseph’s drop balls, it was up to Clark to sink the first shots against her old side.

End of Q1: Loughborough Lightning 12 – 17 Saracens Mavericks

Beginning the second quarter with the same line-up Lightning were wide awake and ready to rewrite the opening fifteen minutes and get themselves on top of the home side. With both teams increasing the speed and physicality, much to the delight of the sold-out home crowd, every single ball was fought tooth and nail to be kept in possession. Fancy footwork from Cholhok and dominance in the D from Oyesola and Keenan saw Lightning double their points before the half-time break.

Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 24 – 35 Saracens Mavericks

Moving Panagarry to WD and bringing on Shaw to centre, Lightning needed to muster all their remaining energy to turn the fate of the game around in the second half. The physicality and aggression on court ramped up yet again and both sides sought every opportunity to wreak havoc and disrupt the flow of the game. Their best quarter of the game saw Lightning close the gap to just four goals with 5 minutes left in the quarter.

End of Q3: Loughborough Lightning 37 – 44 Saracens Mavericks

A huge fifteen minutes stood between Lightning and the end as the final quarter got underway. An unchanged Lightning side mustered all they could to once again close the gap to just four however a series of mistakes opened up the opportunity Mavericks were looking for to run away with the ball and widen the gap once and for all to seal the win.

Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 51 – 64 Saracens Mavericks

Head Coach Sara Bayman was keen to highlight the game’s positives, despite the final score;

“I think today was frustrating because we did some really good stuff but we gave too much ball away. We knew today was going to be tough, Mavericks have been named one of the favourites this season but we also knew we had the game and determination to match them. I think we proved that in parts tonight but I think if you give a quality side like Mavs too much opportunity they’re going to use it to their advantage and run away with it as they did tonight.”

Regardless of the extreme physicality of the game, causing multiple cautions for both sides, Bayman was pleased with the effort put in from her side;

“I think Ella Clark had a really strong game, our defensive unit grew throughout the game seeing Vicki and Tuaine coming out with a lot of ball towards the end. Our mid-court generally just grafted which we wanted from this game but I think across the board everyone needs to take individual responsibility for their own errors tonight.”

Looking ahead to next week’s fixture, Bayman cited Sirens new signing as their secret weapon;

“I think Sirens is an exciting one as they’ve improved massively from last year and I think they’ll upset a few teams this season. They’ve got a massive target shooter in terms of Cat Tuivaiti so we’re going to need to win ball a bit earlier up the court. Hopefully, we can fix a few things in training this week and go into next week feeling confident.”

Lightning are back in action next weekend on home turf as they welcome Strathclyde Sirens to Loughborough University. The match will form part of the Pink Party event where we’ll be aiming to raise as much money as we can for Cancer Research UK. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and come early to join in all the games and activities before the main event at 6pm.

Tickets are selling fast so secure yours now: www.loughboroughlightning.com

Photo credit: Loughborough University 

mary cholhok

Ugandan Mary Cholhok signs for Lightning

Loughborough Lightning Netball have unveiled the signing of Ugandan goal shooter Mary Cholhok, who becomes the second Ugandan international to tread the floors of Loughborough University, after the recent departure of Peace Proscovia from the Vitality Netball Superleague franchise.

The 21 year old She Cranes international will fill follow in the footsteps of fellow goal shooter, countrywoman and idol Proscovia, who has swapped one Lightning for another as she moves down under to play for Australian franchise Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Having shown rapid progress over the last three years Cholhok, who stands at 6ft 7, will pose a huge threat to her Vitality Netball Superleague rivals when she links up with the East Midlands based franchise for the 2019 VNSL season. Having been named Most Valuable Player at the World University Games in 2016, Cholhok has also played in the African World Cup qualifiers and Uganda’s recent three match series against England.

Having only started playing netball five years ago Cholhok has enjoyed a rapid rise, earning her place in the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Finalist’s squad after just one year of senior international netball.

On the prospect of playing netball in England, Cholhok said: “I’m so excited and just can’t wait to step through the gates at Loughborough and I’m so eager to see it. In September I first found out there might be the chance to come to Loughborough and when I signed the contract I partied all night!

“It’s a great opportunity for me as a young person and I think I’ll be able to develop my career at the University. Peace has told me it develops talent and really encourages sport and particularly girls’ sports, but that the education is really good as well.

“I want to develop my talent in netball and also go further with my studies, but I also want to inspire more girls who have not yet discovered who they are and how far their talents can take them. I hope to inspire them like I was inspired by Peace.”

Loughborough Lightning Head Coach Sara Bayman added: “Lightning are committed to developing talent and Mary is one of the most exciting up and coming players in world netball.

“Having strong links with Uganda has allowed us to identify Mary as a long-term prospect and show our faith in her by offering a contract at an early stage of her international career.

“Peace is a role model to girls in Uganda and I’m sure Mary will provide the same level of inspiration as she continues to pursue her netball dream in the Vitality Netball Superleague.”

Tickets to see Loughborough Lightning in action during the 2019 season are on sale here.

You can get tickets to watch all 10 teams in action at the Super 10 season opener here.

Photo Credit: Loughborough University

bayman-tri

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!