The East Midland’s premier netball team, Loughborough Lightning, confirmed it’s place at the top of the Co-operative Netball Superleague this weekend after an impressive 74-38 win against bottom team Northern Thunder.
With the all important play offs now just four games away, Loughborough coach Rose Port took the opportunity to give her full squad a run out, and was rewarded with impressive shooting from the attacking line up and a remarkable centre court performance from England U21 Sarah Jane O'Sullivan.
The game started at amazing pace and the score quickly went to 9 - 2 in Lightning’s favour. Thunders work rate was high but they couldn’t counter the fluid movement of the Lightning team. At the end of the first quarter the score was 20 - 9 to Lightning.
Lightning rotated their line-up at quarter time to bring 18 year old Jo Harten on at GS. The young Thunder line-up kept working and put together a few slick moves but it was largely one way traffic as Lightning put together a string of eight unanswered goals, with the score at 42 - 19 at half-time.
Lightning took the opportunity that the comfortable lead offered to make numerous half-time changes. The girls kept up the pace of movement and defence but occasionally the ball went astray and mistakes were taken advantage of by a more aggressive Thunder defence.
The final quarter saw Lightning change their line-up again with Olivia Murphy being replaced at WA by O’Sullivan. Thunder introduced Charlotte Beenham at GA who produced their best shooting performance of the night scoring 7 from 8 attempts. However Lightning still managed to take the quarter 15 - 11 and win the game 74 – 38.
Lightning Player – Coach, Olivia Murphy said, “We have a crucial match away against defending Superleague champions, TeamBath this Friday and with just over a month to go before the playoffs, the pressure has never been greater on the team. We are hoping we can keep our intensity all the way into the playoffs and make it a step further this year.”
Lightning’s next home game is on Monday 25th February against Mavericks. Tickets are available in advance on the ticket hotline, Tel: 01509 226250, or through the website: www.loughboroughlightning.com or on the door (depending on availability) at the Sir David Wallace Sports Hall. At £5 a ticket for adults and £3 for concessions, the game works out as a bargain priced night out for all.
Imago Coaching Clinics
If you want to learn to play like the Lightning girls, why not sign up to one of their Coaching Clinics. Sponsored by Imago, the next five week clinic starts on 14th February. This clinic is open to girls aged 9 – 12 and will take place at the Netball Centre at the university, every Thursday 4.30 - 6pm. If you would like more information please call 01509 226 753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Bradley Photography