Loughborough Lightning lift the 2023 Super League title. Image provided by Morgan Harlow.

Loughborough Lightning lift the 2023 Super League title. Image provided by Morgan Harlow.

Superb Lightning win historic Super League title

Loughborough Lightning won an incredible second Super League title after coming from behind to beat London Pulse 57-48 at the Copper Box Arena.

In a bruising encounter in the capital, Vic Burgess’ side showed immense resolve to fight back from 17-13 down to win their second title in three years.

Pulse – appearing in their first final after topping the regular league standings – raced into a first quarter lead. Lightning, however, soon found their feet and began to assert their attacking quality to close to within two goals of Pulse by half-time.

Led by the ever-impressive Mary Cholhok, Lightning levelled things up at 35-35 early in the third quarter, before leading for the first time in the match soon after.

Experienced duo Nat Panagarry and Fran Williams showed their class throughout as the beaten 2022 finalists avenged last season’s defeat in style.

Lightning knew the title was secured as they raced into a 10-goal lead in the final quarter.

As the final buzzer sounded scenes of elation followed with the whole squad joining in raucous on-court celebrations.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Lightning head coach Vic Burgess said she felt immense pride in her side.  

"It gets emotional, I'm just so happy that the girls fought so hard after not a great start," said Burgess.

"I came away from about five hugs with tears so am just in disbelief, but also really proud because we've worked really hard for this and deserve it."

The victory was also testament to captain Panagarry who has had a difficult season off court with her wife undergoing cancer treatment.

"Nat Panagarry inspires me every day," Fran Williams told BBC Sport.

"She has been on a huge journey this year, the way she has led from the front, the performances she has put out and the freedom she has played with, is immense and I don't think anyone else could do it."

Quarter-time scores

Q1 - 17-13

Q2 - 31-29

Q3 - 39-43

Q4 - 48-57

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/90

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2024, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.