Lightning return to winning ways against Mavericks

Nicola Smith intercepting a high ball against a Mavericks attacker

Photo by Matt Impey

Following last week's narrow defeat to London Pulse, Lightning faced a trip down to Hertfordshire Sports Village to face league opponents Saracens Mavericks in attempt to get back to winning ways.

Lightning started the game on the correct foot as they swiftly put away the first point. A few minutes of point-for-point gameplay was followed by Lightning drawing away from Saracens Mavericks, who would struggle to catch them for the remainder of the game.

The defensive duo of Harvey and Smith put pressure on Mavericks’ attackers, disrupting play and allowing a turnover. Whilst Cholhok and Dixon performed well in attack, Cobden also shone back in defence as she stuck to her player like glue. Lightning ended the first quarter with an eight-point lead after forcing two held balls.

Quarter two began with another point from Cholhok as Joseph sent in feed after feed, each more clinical than the last. Lightning worked hard to keep Mavericks on their toes, manoeuvring quickly around the circle edge to keep the upper hand. An impressive quarter from Lightning saw another 19 points added to the scoreboard to Mavericks’ seven.

Half-time: Saracens Mavericks 18 - 37 Loughborough Lightning

The third quarter saw the first substitution from head coach Vic Burgess as Baylis came on as centre. Panagarry switched to wing defence, replacing Cobden. Some tactical play had Dixon faking a shot before passing to Cholhok for her to convert. Clark was also subbed onto the court as goal shooter, replacing Cholhok. Some quick play from Baylis and Joseph, working seamlessly together for yet another important point. Quarter three saw Lightning end with a 15-point lead.

Harvey, who played the entire game as goalkeeper did an exceptional job at keeping ex-Lightning player Emma Thacker at the circle edge and not under the post. Lightning worked through their channels to direct the ball into the shooting circle. A few substitutions in the fourth quarter saw Roddy, McCall and Popoola enter the court. Mavericks made some strong plays to finish the match, both teams trying desperately to add more points to the scoreboard. 

Full-time: Saracens Mavericks 46 – 66 Loughborough Lightning

Lightning head coach Vic Burgess commented on her team’s win this afternoon.

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. 

We’ve been trying to get the girls as much exposure as possible on court so that they are ready and can work together.”

Back at home for round five, Lightning face Leeds Rhinos at Sir David Wallace on Saturday 16th March. With the team back to their winning ways it’s not one to miss.

Tickets to Lightning’s 2024 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: Beth Cobden 

GD: Nicola Smith 

GK: Alice Harvey