Lightning strike again in round 2 with victory over Celtic Dragons

Image by Morgan Harlow

The second round of the 2023 Netball Super League Season saw Lightning come up against the Celtic Dragons. The fixture welcomed all fans back to the Sir David Wallace Sports Hall for the season's first home game and marked the 150th Lightning appearance for Hannah Joseph.

It was an aggressive start from both teams straight from the centre pass with an especially strong defensive effort from both Alice Harvey and Fran Williams for Lightning to create many turnovers in play across the court. Lightning looks confident and vocal in their play so far and looks set to continue into the second quarter. However, Dragons matched Lightning’s confident approach to the game.  

Lightning presented strongly in the attack with Cholhok and Thacker commanding the final third. With the run of play seeming extremely fast-paced Lightning communicated effectively across the court to secure a three-goal lead by the end of the first quarter. 

Q1: Loughborough Lightning 16 – 13 Celtic Dragons  

The second quarter brought continued fierce play from both teams. Despite Dragon’s retaliation in goals, Lightning extended their lead through key interceptions from Fran Williams in the upheld Lightning defence.  Interceptions were matched from the Dragon’s central players on the court and their attack remained competitive. Fast thinking from Hannah Joseph in the centre of the court enabled Lightning to regain possession of Cholhok’s reliable shooting. Towards the end of the quarter, Head Coach Vic Burgess made a tactical substitution in attack swapping Thacker for Dixon bringing Dixon’s second game for Lightning. 

Q2: Loughborough Lightning 34 – 22 Celtic Dragons  

Lightning further asserted their tireless play across all aspects of the team to increase their lead. Prior to substitution at centre for Williams, Panagarry continued to accurately pass around the opposition. An additional substitution Liverseidge replaced Joseph at wing-attack and added to the committed Lightning attack. Despite a vocal bench of substitutions from the visitors, Lightning scored nineteen goals in the third quarter and did not show any signs of allowing the Dragons any easy possession or opportunities. Several key decisions from the umpires during the third quarter in the attacking third saw the Dragon's goal defence warned for dangerous play.  

Q3: Loughborough Lightning 53 – 33 Celtic Dragons 

To start the final quarter saw a triple substitution for Lightning with Zanele Vimbela swapping for Fran Williams at goal defence, Thacker entering the court for Mary Cholhok at goal shooter and Bella Baylis was introduced onto court for her second game for Lightning in place of Odeogberin at wing defence. Lightning relished in the changes and their game only got stronger in attack and defence. Dragon’s game had significantly increased in tempo however, as ten goals were scored within the first half of the quarter in attempt to make up the score difference.   

Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 65 – 51 Celtic Dragons  

Another win for Lightning and Head Coach Vic Burgess was eager to reflect on the game; 

‘’We’ve been working on our defence across pre-season and working together to be more ruthless outside the circle’’ and highlighted the importance of defensive work as a team as mentioned last week against Team Bath. 

Long Tall Sally's player of the match was named Fran Williams after the game and commented on the defence as ‘’a strong pleasant unit across the squad and back each other up with the way we play and share the load in terms of the turnovers’’ mirroring Vic’s vision and appraisal of the defensive aspect of the team in today’s win. 

Lightning are back on the court at Sir David Wallace Sports Hall at Loughborough University for round three of the NSL season against Saracens Mavericks on 24th February 2023 at 7:30pm. 

But before Lightning travel away to Strathclyde Sirens on 20th February. 

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


Starting VII: 

GS: Mary Cholhok 

GA: Emma Thacker 

WA: Hannah Joseph 

C: Nat Panagarry 

WD: Jas Odeogberin 

GD: Fran Williams 

GK: Alice Harvey