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Netball - 28. January 2008.

Co-operative Netball Superleague: Lightning Shoots to the Top

Loughborough Lightning moved up to the top of the Co-operative Netball
Superleague table with a pulsating 46-42 victory over Team Northumbria,
who have led the competition since the first round. The Tynesiders now
slip down one place to second, a point behind Loughborough.


Alex Astle, the former England international, was Loughborough's
inspiration in the second half, netting 15 crucial goals and countering
the towering presence of Northumbria's GK Megan Hutton, who had taken
numerous key interceptions in the first half to allow the home team to
move out to a 23-20 half time lead.

However, with Olivia Murphy and Jade Clarke in scintillating form in
centre court, and Welsh shooter Becky James linking well with Astle in the
second half, Loughborough started to turn the Northumbria tide, and held
their nerve in a tense and thrilling final period to take the points and
move into the top spot with five weeks of regular competition remaining.


Meanwhile, last season's defeated Grand Finallists Mavericks stated their
intention to be in the mix come the play offs with a devastating 62-38 win
over Leeds Carnegie. England shooter Louisa Brownfield, in her first
match since England's World Championships campaign, showed no sign of
rustiness with a dominant 38 goals from 39 attempts, and with three more
internationals, Karen Atkinson, Clare Elsley and Naomi Siddall, powering
through the midcourt, Leeds could find no way to counter the Hertfordshire

side's pace and power.

In Saturday's final game, Celtic Dragons moved off the bottom of the table
with a 55-36 victory over Northern Thunder. After Thunder's recent
heroics against Leeds, their supporters anticipated a hotly contested
game. But the Welsh side, inspired by their player coach Anna Mayes, were
simply unstoppable, and Thunder could find no way through.

On Monday evening, reigning champions TeamBath will look to move ahead of
Mavericks with a victory over Brunel Hurricanes. However, the Londoners
will want to reignite their season after recent disappointments, so a
hotly contested match is anticipated. Play starts at the Guildford
Spectrum centre on Monday evening at 7.30pm, and the game will be shown in
its entirety on Thursday evening at 5.00pm on Sky Sports Extra.

League table as at 27 01 08
Pos Team P W L D + - +|- +/- Pts
1 L'borough L'ning 9 8 1 0 473 298 175 1.587 16
2 Team Northumbria 9 7 1 1 421 298 123 1.413 15
3 Team Bath 8 5 3 0 355 268 87 1.325 10
4 Mavericks 9 5 4 0 354 330 24 1.073 10
5 Leeds Carnegie 9 4 5 0 357 426 -69 0.838 8
6 Brunel Hurricanes 8 3 4 1 326 306 20 1.065 7
7 Celtic Dragons 9 1 8 0 323 477 -154 0.677 2
8 Northern Thunder 9 1 8 0 293 499 -206 0.587 2
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