Lightning make a comeback with victory over Severn Stars in round 10

Image by Ben Lumley

Lightning travelled to the University of Worcester Arena and put out a strong away performance against Severn Stars, defeating them 41-61.

The tenth round of the Netball Super League kicked off this weekend with a showdown between Lightning and Severn Stars. The match held at the University of Worcester Arena saw Lightning’s third away match of the 2023 Netball Super League season and a victory for the squad. 

The first quarter began with a quick start from both teams as they scored from their first centre passes. Lightning successfully broke down the play of Stars, delaying their next conversion. The increased pressure from Lightning caused a held ball by their opponent, allowing Mary Cholhok to make a clean shot at the post. A brilliant interception from Hannah Joseph showcased the impact that she has on court as vice-captain of the squad. This led to a number of combinations from Cholhok, Joseph and Rhea Dixon causing Lightning’s lead to grow.

Alice Harvey’s quick hands prevent a conversion from Stars kept the score-line growing in favour of Lightning as Cholhok showcased her shooting prowess with back-to-back conversions. Mid-court players Joseph and Hannah Williams used one another well for support around the attacking circle, successfully swinging sides to assist in another point for Lightning. A dominant quarter for the away side through a strong use of space to drive the ball into the circle to convert 15 points. 

Q1: Severn Stars 6 - 15 Loughborough Lightning 

The second quarter was underway with a strong tip-off from H. Williams and Lightning defensive due Harvey and Fran Williams dominating the circle. However, on the other end of the court the attackers seemed to struggle before a confident shot from Dixon brought put the squad back into stride. The Dixon and Cholhok combination worked well throughout the quarter to add vital points to the board and extended the lead for Lightning.  

Wing defence Jas Odeogberin came into the next centre pass at incredible speed, received the ball well and granted the team easy entry into the attacking third. Once again Cholhok used her long reach to add yet another conversion through the support of Dixon. Through her use of evasive manoeuvres and feint shots, Dixon managed to confuse the Severn Star’s defence and allow for more consecutive points for her shooting partner, Cholhok. Lightning did a great job at breaking up the play of Stars throughout the first half of the game with Harvey and F. Williams using their experienced play together through the Vitality Roses. The second quarter came to a close with a 16-point lead for Lightning.

Q2: Severn Stars 16 - 32 Loughborough Lightning 

Quarter three saw the first changes to the squad by Lightning head coach Vic Burgess. Dixon switched into the wing attack position with Joseph leaving the court and Emma Thacker joining as goal attack. The fresh legs of Thacker proved to be very useful for Lightning as she was quick off the mark to receive the ball in the centre court, assisting in another conversion for Cholhok. Dixon displayed her strong feeding ability, her versatility on court not going unnoticed. An interception from Thacker gave Stars a hard time progressing further down the court whilst a coordinated attack from Lightning formed. 

There was a strong sense of teamwork on court, the Lightning players moved as one and anticipated the next move of both their teammates and opponent. Dixon then evaded her player well and received the ball from F. Williams to create opportunities for another conversion. Thacker delivered two back-to-back conversions after a feed in from H. Williams who consistently found herself with masses of space on court. Zan Vimbela was then switched into play by Burgess, replacing Harvey as goalkeeper. The third quarter ended with a conversion from Cholhok within the last 30-seconds of the clock. Lightning showed an all-round strong performance and added a further 17-points to the board.

Q3: Severn Stars 25 - 49 Loughborough Lightning 

The final quarter began with a quick Lightning conversion as Lauren Nicholls joined her team on court, replacing H. Williams as centre. Vimbela managed to tip-off the ball in the defensive circle as Stars struggled to get a point. This was then followed by a long feed on the other end of the court by Thacker into Cholhok for another two Lightning conversions. Severn Stars started to show a more confident attitude at the latter stages of the game, making Lightning work even harder to keep the gap in scores from thinning. Liverseidge entered the court as wing attack with Dixon returning to her earlier goal attack position and Thacker replacing Cholhok as goal shooter. Thacker performed well under the pressure of Stars’ defence, a leap in the air landing her a conversion before she added yet another clean shot to the score line. With two minutes left on the clock, Stars began to gain back a few conversions as Lightning showed signs of tiring. An important win for Lightning, their 20-point win over Severn Stars became a showcase of the incredible teamwork and ability that the team possess.   

Full time: Severn Stars 41 – 61 Loughborough Lightning

With a vital win for Lightning after the previous week’s loss against London Pulse, head coach Vic Burgess shared her thoughts on the team’s performance:

“It was a really strong performance for us, after our loss against London Pulse last week we went back to the drawing board. We wanted to have a bigger impact on the start of the game.”

“The girls played really well, both attack and defence. Our structures were really good today and we stuck to it for the whole 60-minutes. I’m really pleased with our performance.”

“We have confidence, even after the loss last week they never lost that. We knew that we just didn’t perform as well as we could’ve. But of course wins like this really do boost your confidence, we have a bit of a break until our next match so the girls can rest their legs and prepare for Celtic Dragons in a couple of weeks.”

Loughborough Lightning are back in action at House of Sport once more on Monday 17th April against Celtic Dragons. First centre pass is scheduled for 7pm. 

Tickets to Lightning’s 2023 home campaign are on sale now and can be purchased here.


Starting line-up:

GS: Mary Cholhok

GA: Rhea Dixon

WA: Hannah Joseph

C: Hannah Williams

WD: Jas Odeogberin

GD: Fran Williams

GK: Alice Harvey