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Surrey Storm 66 Loughborough Lightning 38
Loughborough Lightning were brought down to earth by table topping Surrey Storm in Guildford last weekend (28 January).
Before the match Lightning coach Olivia Murphy had talked about how strong the Surrey attacking line up was and so this proved to be the case, with England internationals Rachel Dunn, Pamela Cookey and Tamsin Greenway in sparkling form.
Lightning made one change from last week’s victory over Team Northumbria, with Lucy Adams making her debut at Centre.
Despite the tough assignment for the young squad, Lightning made a strong start to the match against their more experienced rivals. Storm fought back to 7-7, after both Becky James and Lianne Badmin found their range with a number of impressive scores.
However as the quarter progressed the Storm defence of Hannah Reid and Katy Holland made their presence felt and dried up the Lightning supply line. The home side were converting turnovers and scoring from their own centre pass to change the complexion of the match from a tight opening into a 22-9 advantage to Storm.
By the second quarter it was already a case of damage limitation for Lightning, and Jodie Gibson lead the way, once again impressing with some athletic defensive interceptions.
However Storm were now in their stride, with their defence cutting out several promising breaks by Lightning, and setting up the England trio of Dunn, Cookey and Greenway to pile on the points. At the interval Storm domination remained, with the score 38-16 to the hosts.
For the third quarter Jenni Montgomery replaced Gibson at WD, Jade Forbes-Wattley moved in to GK and Jordan Moxey continued at WA, from where she ended the second quarter following a knock to Badmin.
Lightning were showing some good fight at the start of the quarter with Adams and Montgomery making early interceptions. But Storm continued ticking the scoreboard over as they pulled further clear, 55-24 at the end of the third quarter.
With the result already confirmed, Lightning showed fantastic spirit in the fourth quarter to reduce the deficit. Olivia Mason looked solid when introduced at GA to make her Lightning debut, sinking some long range shots with ease. But despite Lightning taking the quarter, Storm ran out confortable winners. Final score Storm 66 Lightning 38.
After the match Lightning Coach Olivia Murphy focused on the plus points to be taken from what was always going to be a difficult challenge for her side. She admitted:
“They have got the best attack in the league so it was tough to close them down but I wasn’t too worried. At the start, our game was fantastic, it’s just putting all these pieces together for the rest of the season.
“We have got such a young team that every time they step on court they learn so much and it’s trying to get them to learn that in a positive way so they can keep reproducing the good stuff. We can in patches stick with the best, we forced them into some stuff they wouldn’t have liked, and if we can keep replicating the good stuff we do we can stay with anyone.”
Lightning are next in action at home on 4 February against Northern Thunder. Tickets are selling fast, so in order to confirm your seats please book through our online ticket service at:
Surrey Storm: GS - Dunn, GA - Cookey, WA - Greenway, C – Trippick, WD –Seaton, GD - Holland, GK - Reid
Bench: Betsy, Bello, Plom, Modeste, Ainsworth
Loughborough Lightning: GS - Badmin, GA - James, WA - McFarlane, C – Adams, WD –Gibson, GD - Caunt, GK - Morris
Bench: Mason, Moxey, Montgomery, Forbes-Wattley, Sinclair
Surrey Storm: Dunn: 44/53 – 83%, Cookey: 22/25 – 88%. Team: 66/78 – 85%
Loughborough Lightning: Badmin: 3/6 – 50%, James: 26/33 – 79%, McFarlane: 5/9 – 56%, Mason: 4/6 – 67% Team: 38/54 – 70%