Superb Lightning win historic Super League title

Loughborough Lightning lift the 2023 Super League title. Image provided by Morgan Harlow.

Loughborough Lightning lift the 2023 Super League title. Image provided by Morgan Harlow.

Loughborough Lightning won an incredible second Super League title after coming from behind to beat London Pulse 57-48 at the Copper Box Arena.

In a bruising encounter in the capital, Vic Burgess’ side showed immense resolve to fight back from 17-13 down to win their second title in three years.

Pulse – appearing in their first final after topping the regular league standings – raced into a first quarter lead. Lightning, however, soon found their feet and began to assert their attacking quality to close to within two goals of Pulse by half-time.

Led by the ever-impressive Mary Cholhok, Lightning levelled things up at 35-35 early in the third quarter, before leading for the first time in the match soon after.

Experienced duo Nat Panagarry and Fran Williams also showed their class throughout as the beaten 2022 finalists avenged last season’s defeat in style.

Lightning knew the title was secured as they raced into a 10-goal lead in the final quarter.

As the final buzzer sounded scenes of elation followed with the whole squad joining in raucous on-court celebrations.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Lightning head coach Vic Burgess said she felt immense pride in her side.  

"It gets emotional, I'm just so happy that the girls fought so hard after not a great start," said Burgess.

"I came away from about five hugs with tears so am just in disbelief, but also really proud because we've worked really hard for this and deserve it."

The victory was also testament to captain Panagarry who has had a difficult season off court with her wife undergoing cancer treatment.

"Nat Panagarry inspires me every day," Fran Williams told BBC Sport.

"She has been on a huge journey this year, the way she has led from the front, the performances she has put out and the freedom she has played with, is immense and I don't think anyone else could do it."

Quarter-time scores

Q1 - 17-13

Q2 - 31-29

Q3 - 39-43

Q4 - 48-57