Loughborough Lightning claim their second Netball Super League title over London Pulse at the Copper Box Arena

Image by Morgan Harlow

Loughborough Lightning won a second Netball Super League title with a 57-48 win over London Pulse at a sold-out Copper Box Arena.

After an incredible set of home semi-finals for both London Pulse and Loughborough Lightning last Friday evening, both teams were out ready to take the top spot and claim the Super League 2023 trophy. In a sell-out Copper Box Arena both teams looked strong in warm-ups with Pulse making the most of being in their home venue and Lightning using their previous Grand Final experience.

Lightning were awarded the first centre pass but it was Pulse who managed to claim both the first turnover of the game and first goal.  London Pulse started strongly with immense defensive pressure from Zara Everitt and Funmi Fadoju and managed to extend to a two goal lead. League leaders, soon showed exactly what they are capable of and comfortably found their shooters Liv Tchine and Berri Neil extending out to a six goal lead.

A real contest developed between Fadoji and Mary Cholhok but it was Nat Pangarry who crucially turned over a Pulse centre pass to bring Lightning some momentum and help start to work back the deficit they had allowed. There were plenty of long shots from Rhea Dixon and interceptions from Fadoju to close the quarter, but Pulse claimed a five-goal advantage at the quarter time.

End of Q1: London Pulse 17 – 13 Loughborough Lightning

Pulse were relentless in both attack and defence with Fadoju claiming another early interception to bring her side back to a six goal lead. Halimat Adio coming in with a further turnover and it was clear Lightning needed to do something about it. A real shift in momentum was seen and Vic Burgess’ side quickly pulled back and came within two goals with Mary working hard against the relentless Pulse defensive unit to change up body angles and retain crucial attacking rebounds.

Alice Harvey and Fran Williams, Lightning’s defensive partnership, quickly learnt and adapted forcing ball off the backline and sideline which Dixon’s long range shots were able to capitalise on. An incredible fight from Lightning took the score within two at the half time whistle.

End of Q2: London Pulse 31 – 29 Loughborough Lightning

Burgess made a change which saw Beth Cobden replace Jas Odeogberin at WD. The support to see Cobden back on the court after struggling with niggles this season was heard throughout the arena. Pulse came out strong, with smart defensive work but it was Williams who offered Lightning the opportunity to pull level and then take the lead for the first time in the game. Pulse making one too many errors, struggling to get ball into Tchine, soon saw Lightning take a three, then four goal lead.

Lightning finish the quarter four goals ahead, having claimed the lead off first time finalists, Pulse.

End of Q3: London Pulse 39 - 43 Loughborough Lightning

Sam Bird, brought on youngster Alicia Scholes at WA in attempt to reconcile their difficulty feeding in the last quarter but Beth Cobden, with all her experience, proved crucial in continuing Lightning’s success.

There was little to be done as Lightning continued to extend their lead, going seven ahead thanks to full court defensive pressure which allowed Williams to claim yet another.

Ellie Rattu entered the game for captain Everitt but it was all too late. One final turnover from Williams, Gilbert player of the match, saw Lightning claim their second Super League title.

Full-time: London Pulse 48 - 57 Loughborough Lightning


Starting line-up:

GS: Mary Cholhok

GA: Rhea Dixon

WA: Hannah Joseph

C: Nat Panagarry

WD: Jas Odeogberin

GD: Fran Williams

GK: Alice Harvey