Nicholls departed Lightning in 2022 to join fellow midlands side Wasps Netball, however, in November 2022, Wasps Holdings Ltd entered administration which was followed with confirmation that Wasps Netball would no longer be eligible to compete in the Netball Super League.
The response from England Netball saw them adapt the rules around squad size to allow clubs the opportunity to provide additional training partner spots and invite Wasps players into their squads for 2023.
Boasting over 75 appearances for Lightning, including being a part of the championship winning side in 2021, Head Coach Vic Burgess said it was an ‘easy decision’ to welcome Lauren back to Loughborough:
“Lauren has been part of the Lightning family for a long time. It was an easy decision to include her as a training partner for the 2023 season as she is a great team player and the girls love having her back in our environment.”
Also joining Nicholls and earning her spot with the Netball Super League side for the first time is current Loughborough student and Lightning U21 player Alex Johnson.
Making the move to the East Midlands-based pathway from Manchester Thunder, Johnson is currently balancing her studies alongside training for both the NPL (National Performance League) U21 side and her University BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) team.
Burgess noted Johnson’s development since joining the programme:
“Alex showed some great performances at U21 NPL and BUCS level and was named as a temporary replacement player in 2022 for the NSL side. She has integrated well and got to know the current squad over the past 12 months and has thoroughly deserved the opportunity to join them for the season ahead as training partner.”
The two additions take Lightning’s squad to seventeen and rounds off a successful and exiting signing window for the side.
The team are now in pre-season preparing for the start of the 2023 season which kicks off on Saturday 11 February 2023 at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena. Round 1 will see Lightning take on Team Bath in the opening match of the Season Opener event. Limited tickets are still available for the event and can be purchased here.
With the squad complete and the fixtures released, you can also join the Lightning Family for the whole of 2023 as a dedicated Season Member. Packages are on sale now.