Lightning show their Pride once again with a win over Saracens Mavericks

Loughborough Lightning achieved a successful weekend with another win against Saracens Mavericks as the Netball Super League continues to celebrate Pride. Round 15 saw the two sides came head-to-head on the bank holiday with Lightning walking away with a second win after beating Manchester Thunder only two days before. The events of the two Pride rounds meant that Nat Panagarry’s Lightning side now sit in the second position of the league table with only two losses.

The game began with a swift point for Lightning from a Mavericks first centre pass to push the team ahead from the get-go. Goal shooter Mary Cholhok yet again showcased her skill in the attacking circle as she has done all season with the most successful shots in the Netball Super League. However, the other end of the court saw England Roses defensive duo Alice Harvey and Fran Williams applying pressure effectively to force an error from the Mavericks’ attackers. Lightning worked seamlessly as a unit with some quick feeding from Panagarry and Hannah Joseph effortlessly switching the game from defence to attack. Rhea Dixon made some strong drives in the attacking third, her agility helping her stay one step ahead of Mavericks. Lightning finish the first quarter of the game with a 12-point lead over Mavericks. 

Q1: Saracens Mavericks 8 – 20 Loughborough Lightning

The second quarter started with two quick conversions from Lightning as they continued to dominate in Hertfordshire. Fast fingers from Dixon as she worked well with Panagarry and Cholhok to gain momentum for Lightning. Both attack and defence worked hard to continue the game as they’d started: on top. Harvey and Williams once again applied pressure to the Mavericks attack causing a missed shot. Their brilliant teamwork shone on court as Williams held the dress of Harvey to avoid obstruction. 

Captain Panagarry left the court with Hannah Williams joining the team as centre. Jas Odeogberin made a quick drive from the centre pass to set up a conversion shortly before Zan Vimbela replaced Harvey as goalkeeper. Lightning’s lead saw a bigger gap at the half-time whistle with a 23-point lead. 

Q2: Saracens Mavericks 19 – 42 Loughborough Lightning

The next quarter saw a major change in the Mavericks side as they began to win more ball and cause problems for Lightning. Head coach Vic Burgess made two substitutions going into the quarter with Emma Thacker playing as goal attack with Dixon switched to wing attack for Joseph. Additionally, Lauren Nicholls joined the team on court as wing defence in place of Odeogberin. 

Thacker got Lightning underway with a confident conversion, continually showing her versatility and precision from anywhere in the attacking circle. Mavericks worked hard to get some vital points and slowly close the gap in the score line. Vimbela used a range of passes, most notably the brilliant use of a long pass, her power perfectly allowing the ball to travel to Nicholls in the centre third. Thacker then switched to goal shooter for Cholhok with Dixon moving back to goal attack as Suzie Liverseidge came on as wing attack. There was some scrappy play from both teams as the intensity increased. Mavericks continued to gain some much-needed points with Lightning determined to keep them at bay. The third quarter came to a close with a smaller 18-point gap between the teams.

Q3: Saracens Mavericks 35 – 53 Loughborough Lightning

The fourth and final quarter was underway with some more changes from Burgess as Odeogberin re-joined the court in place of Fran Williams as goal defence. Future Roses Liverseidge, Dixon and Thacker worked effectively together in the attacking quarter with a lot of movement being used to drive the ball into the circle. The game began to slow across the court as both teams made moves to disrupt each other’s plays. 

Vimbela successfully managed to get her fingertips to the ball to delay a point for Mavericks who seemed to be making a comeback. Hannah Williams took a knock from behind after a pass from Liverseidge. Even though she had managed to protect herself by turning away from her opponent she suffered a fall and hit the court hard. As a result of this, Hannah Williams left the court to ensure her health and safety whilst Hannah Joseph re-joined the team as centre. Lightning finished the game with a 12-point win over Saracens Mavericks after a challenging second half.

Q4: Saracens Mavericks 50 – 62 Loughborough Lightning

With a second win of Pride weekend for Lightning coach Vic Burgess, she shares her thoughts on the team’s performance:

 “We started well, we basically went out there and did exactly what we wanted to do. The girls were penetrating towards goal and then resetting where we needed to look after the ball.

 “In the second half we spilt too much ball. The decision making was lost a little, we had some options open and at times just didn’t choose the right one. Credit to Mavs for coming out to us in that second half and disrupting us really well.

 “We’ve got a bit to learn from this and have a bit of time to reflect before our game next Saturday. We’ve been trying to get the girls as much exposure as possible on court so that they are ready and can work together. We did lack some consistency in the third and fourth quarter so we wil be looking at that, especially when it comes to top four.”

 Loughborough Lightning are back in action at the Sir David Wallace Arena on Saturday 6th May against Severn Stars. First centre pass is scheduled for 6pm. 

 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: Nat Panagarry

WD: Jas Odeogberin

GD: Fran Williams

GK: Alice Harvey