Another home win for Lightning against a strong Mavericks side

Image by Morgan Harlow

Loughborough Lightning’s second home game of the 2023 Netball Superleague Season brought them up against Saracens Mavericks available to watch live on Sky Sports. The fixture sets to be an enticing one with Lightning unbeaten in the season so far and Mavericks having a mixed start to the season with one win and one loss.

The strong attack of Mavericks from the centre pass provided Lightning with a fast-paced quarter within the attacking third. However, important interceptions and communication from Harvey and Odeogberin brought Lightning into action, creating an equally matched effort from both teams.

Panagarry and Joseph commanded centre court with the aggressive play contained and possession progressed through the team. Lightning showed increasingly strong and quick-thinking passes to bring about goals from Cholhok. Mavericks showed the intent for the game of battling and interceptive play to increase their wins. 

Q1: Loughborough Lightning 13 – 13 Saracens Mavericks

The second quarter brought undeniable link-up play in both Lightning’s attack and defence. William created several turnovers in play to take the ball to the attacking third and relieve the pressure from the defence. Whilst Cholhok and Thacker confidently battled stride through the Maverick defence to score a flurry of goals despite the vocal Mavericks bench and constant strong challenges from all players.

Continued leadership and communication from Lightning puts the team in front and saw a cross-court pass from Panagarry to Joseph to cut out the Mavericks' centre court and add another goal to Lightning’s nine-goal lead heading into halftime. Play from both teams was relentless in the effort to fight for each goal and reclaim possession.

Q2: Loughborough Lightning 34 – 25 Saracens Mavericks

Entering the third quarter of play and Lighting used the left side of the court to produce quick passing and goals from Cholhok combining with Odeogbrien’s turnovers to strengthen the defensive unit of Lightning. Mavericks were matching the accurate passing amongst the bustling atmosphere inside the Sir David Wallace Arena.

Throughout the quarter there were several challenges in Lightning’s defensive third as Thacker fights to further the team’s lead. Harvey was fierce in her defence of the goal and brought the play back to Lightning against the run of Mavericks attacking three. Lightning’s dominance and persistence pays off at the end of the third quarter with a thirteen-goal lead and looks to be adding this game to their already unbeaten streak.

Q3: Loughborough Lightning 51 – 38 Saracens Mavericks

An early change in the final quarter of the game with Rhea Dixon replacing Emma Thacker at the heart of the Lightning attack. Dixon’s presence was immediately felt in the Lightning attack both providing Cholhok with the ball to shoot and going for the goal herself. The tactical attacking change increased Lightning’s lead and confidence to secure the win as the effort and communication of the entire team were unwavering. 

Further changes in the later stages of the final quarter saw Harvey exit the court for Vimbela as goalkeeper and Bayliss on at centre and Panagarry to wing-defence for Odeogberin. Allowing Lightning to mix up their linkups and passing. Vimbela was instantly called into action to defend against the Mavericks’ aggressive form of play. Interceptions from Williams proved vital in preventing the build-up in Mavericks’ attack. Lightning finish the game with a seventeen-goal difference and secure the win to continue the unbeaten start to the season.

Q4: Loughborough Lightning 68 – 51 Saracens Mavericks

An additional win for Lightning sees Head Coach Vic Burgess ready to reflect and name Fran Williams as the Gilbert Player of the Match;

‘’It’s about consistency and challenging each other in training to get better and better’’ and mirrors the importance of the team environment day in and day out to motivate each other to succeed on the court to keep building the wins.

The Long Tall Sally Star of the Game was named Nat Panagarry as she commented on the four wins as ‘’a really good start and what we were after’’ whilst having ‘’3 games in one week’’ proving difficult on the team physically but the team have come out on top. Panagarry also commended Cholhok on her relentless effort and the team working to score goals and secure the win.

Lightning return to the court away vs Manchester Thunder on 3rd March at the Belle Vue Arena and return to home action on 19th March vs Leeds Rhinos at the Sir David Wallace Sports Hall.

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 Odeogbrien

GD: Fran Williams

GK: Alice Harvey