Loughborough Lightning, the East Midlands premier netball team, is proving it’s worth in the Co-operative Netball Superleague this season after yet another win on Monday night (3 Dec), away to the Mavericks.
A great centre court performance from Natasha Hampshire was the corner stone of a strong Lightning performance against the Mavericks, combining well with former England captain, Olivia Murphy. The team took a hard-fought battle 43-28, cementing its second place in the league.
The game started slowly and unforced errors characterised the early exchanges. Loughborough student, Lauren Doyle, was in superb shooting form scoring fluently to take Lightning in to the lead. But a determined Mavericks side scrapped its way back to end the quarter only one down 12-11.
In the second quarter, Lightning stretched its lead, using an impressive zonal defence to unsettle the Mavericks attack. Hampshire gave her opponent, England U19 Paula Gant, a challenging time, frequently leaving her flatfooted as she drove towards her shooters. Alex Astle found her range and Doyle netted several crucial goals. Lightning’s lead was 24-17 at half time.
Team line-ups changed for the third quarter with Mavericks bringing on Jenene Campbell at WD, in an attempt to contain the irrepressible Hampshire. Mavericks scored the first goal of the period but failed to capitalise, and a long period of scrappy play ended with the honours for the quarter even at 7 goals apiece.
Lightning shuffled the team once again for the final quarter, replacing Astle with Heather Clarke, who was in superb form, shooting 8 from 11 attempts. The Mavericks brought on Lindsay Press in GA but she had lost her shooting rhythm, and Reid, at GK for Loughborough, was able to make several key interceptions and turnovers. The quarter ended 12-4 in Loughborough's favour, and coach Rose Port was thrilled with her side's 43-28 win.
"We knew today was going to be a tough game, and I'm very pleased with the way that the girls stepped it up when necessary, particularly when things got a little bit physical. Natasha Hampshire played really well and I'm also delighted with the way that Lauren took Naomi on, and converted her goals fantastically. Tonight we started to show what we can do, which is encouraging."
Lightning’s next home game is this Saturday (8 Dec) against Leeds Carnegie who is currently sixth in the Superleague table. Leeds has shown much better form this season and with Lightning’s recent winning streak, this game promises to be a real nail biter!
Tickets are available in advance on the ticket hotline, Tel: 01509 226250, or through the website: www.loughboroughlightning.com or on the door at the Netball Centre. At £5 a ticket for adults and £3 for concessions, the game works out as a bargain priced night out for all.