#nsl2024 Lightning 59 – Pulse 61

Lightning showed their colours in Round 17 of the NSL in celebration and support of PRIDE. With both teams holding second and third place in the league table, the game was set to be a heated contest in a packed-out Sir David Wallace Arena. The game also celebrated Beth Cobden’s 150th NSL appearance for Lightning.

Looking for a strong start, Lightning swiftly scored the first conversion of the match. With the home crowd spurring them on, Lightning quickly pulled ahead of their adversary London Pulse. A missed shot from Tchine was quickly picked up by Harvey to take Lightning ahead by six points.

Some great movement from Cobden down the court allowed Lightning to travel well, keeping ahead of Pulse. Lightning extended their lead with Cholhok doing what she does best: converting. Harvey and Smith showcased their teamwork in the defending circle, applying pressure exactly where it was needed.

The second quarter saw London Pulse fight back against Lightning to shorten the scoreline. Joseph overcame some contact to feed the ball directly into Cholhok waiting under the post. Working in tandem, Panagarry and Joseph swung the circle to provide some great support for the Lightning shooters. Cobden tipped the ball off to disrupt the play of Pulse and keep Lightning ahead by four.

With possession going back and forth in Lightning’s defending circle, the crowd were captivated by the game on court. Some brilliant play from Cholhok and Dixon came as they used each other to misdirect the Pulse defence, ultimately leading to another conversion. As the quarter came to a close, an intercept from Joseph had Lightning fans cheering across SDW Arena.

Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 32 – 30 London Pulse

Quarter three began with a conversion from Pulse’s Tchine. Putting their best foot forward, Pulse turned the game around and for the first time, were in the lead. With the Pulse defence applying pressure, Lightning found their movements halted for the first few minutes of the quarter. Pulse were shortly impeded by a Cobden interception, but this appeared only temporary as they pulled ahead of Lightning by three points.

A deflection from Smith and a strong drive from Cobden helped to keep the Lightning support alive as their defence worked hard to come out on top. Pulse dominated the third quarter, but Lightning kept on coming back to stay within five. With the crowd behind her, Cholhok convered in the last 15-seconds.

The final quarter opened with the first conversion by Lightning’s Cholhok. Dixon picked up the ball in the centre third. A rebound caught by Smith promised great things for Lightning which unfortunately didn’t come as possession quickly went back to Pulse. Dixon and Cholhok kept Lightning within seven of Pulse as they fought for a comeback. The first substitution from Burgess came with eight minutes left on the clock as she switched out Smith for Roddy at GD.

A clean intercept from Harvey kept Lightning in motion. The home crowd roared for their team, support never wavering even with them behind. The scoreline seemed to be stuck at five points between the teams as both went goal-for-goal in the important few minutes of the game. Lightning forced an error for Pulse which granted them a chance to close the gap to four. Harvey played a vital role in the comeback of Lightning which sadly came a little too late.

Full-time: Loughborough Lightning 59 – 61 London Pulse

Vic Burgess comments on the team’s loss…
“We started well, and our intent was there from an attack and defence perspective. Then across the rest of the game we just didn’t pair up. We got into wide positions and didn’t adapt to that but there were some really great passages of play.”

Nichole Taljaard of London Pulse was named Kissimmee player of the match for her excellent shooting performance.
Long Tall Sally player of the match was awarded to Beth Cobden after a standout performance on court.

Starting line-up:
GS: Mary Cholhok
GA: Rhea Dixon
WA: Hannah Joseph
C: Nat Panagarry
WD: Beth Cobden
GD: Nicola Smith
GK: Alice Harvey

IMG : Tara St Clair

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