Having won every home match of the season so far, Lightning were eager to keep a clean sheet going into this fixture, Bath however were coming back from a surprising defeat to Surrey Storm in round 3 and eager to get back to their winning ways.
Lightning claimed the first centre pass of the night but it was quickly stolen from the opposition who sank the opening goal. A ferocious start to the match saw both sides level on points for most of the first ten minutes however as time ticked on Team Bath seized every opportunity to force error in the home side’s attack. Despite the consistent pressure from Lightning’s defence, Bath pushed on and widened the gap to ten as the first whistle sounded.
End of Q1: Loughborough Lightning 12 – 22 Team Bath
Eager to close the gap and get back on top, Lightning made changes to their line-up heading into the second quarter. Moving Panagarry back to centre to go against the formidable force of Serena Gutherie, it was up to Loughborough University student Rosie Harris to take over the wing-defence bib. Channelling tricks from basketball with Cholhok’s lay-up inspired shots under the post and Clark’s seamless long bombs kept Lightning’s score line ticking over however Bath’s formidable defence soon began to interrupt Lightning’s attack, giving them yet more opportunity to increase their lead.
Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 25 – 39 Team Bath
Changing back to the original line-up for the second half, Jess Shaw came back onto court at centre, eager to stick it to her old team and make a mark on court. It was a family battle in the mid-court with the Shaw sisters both challenging for the same loose ball and putting any sisterly love aside to aid their team’s efforts. Mid way through the quarter, Coleman came on for Cholhok, as Head Coach Sara Bayman looked to switch up the attacking circle and rattle the opposition. Needing no time to adjust, Coleman provided a dynamic and versatile option, allowing Clark the space to sink shots and keep the board ticking over.
End of Q3: Loughborough Lightning 37 – 56 Team Bath
A huge final 15 minutes stood before the home side who needed to summon all their remaining energy in order to close the gap once and for all. Swapping Oyesola for Tarnowski, Bayman drew upon her bench for back up and support. With fresh legs in both ends, it was a huge team effort to do all they could to push on however an experienced and clinical Team Bath left nothing behind and were back to winning ways as the final whistle sounded.
Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 50 – 75 Team Bath
Far from happy with her team’s performance, Head Coach Sara Bayman expressed her feelings towards the night’s events;
“We were really poor tonight, I’m sure the girls are disappointed. We had a talk at half time about wanting to put out a better second half which we did in patches but not enough. In attack we didn’t provide enough options and defensively we were far too loose on a really strong Bath attack and ultimately, we got punished for that. Bath are a strong side, and we expected it to be tough but we want to be better than we were tonight.
“We’re on the road for a few weeks now and we are going to carry on with business as usual, work hard this week and come back fighting next weekend.”
When asked for her Player of the Match;
“This player was able to keep her head tonight when a lot of others were losing theirs. She made good decisions on the ball and worked hard for the team and that’s why I’m awarding Hannah Joseph as tonight’s MVP.”
Next up Lightning face Manchester Thunder away on Saturday 16th February. They then head to Surrey Storm before returning to Loughborough University on Saturday 2nd March. Live updates will be available on Twitter.
Tickets for the next two home matches Vs London Pulse and Wasps are now on sale and selling fast. Tickets can be purchased from www.loughboroughlightning.com
GS: Mary Cholhok
GA: Ella Clark
WA: Hannah Joseph
C: Jess Shaw
WD: Nat Panagarry ©
GD: Vicki Oyesola
GK: Tuaine Keenan