Lightning claim 2024 title

Loughborough Lightning claimed their third Netball Super League title beating Thunder 70-54

A bumper Birmingham crowd were treated to an action-packed game, full of twists and turns, resulting in Loughborough Lightning overcoming opponents Manchester Thunder to clinch back-to-back Netball Super League titles.

Both sides came out with the same intensity they’ve brought to both head-to-head fixtures earlier this season. Lightning captain Nat Panagarry led by example with several crucial intercepts when Thunder looked most threatening. Thunder’s tenacity in the defensive circle projected an imminent fightback, with them clawing themselves back to a 2-goal deficit.

Lightning weathered the storm, however, bringing professionalism and creativity to the second quarter whilst capitalising on Thunder errors to further extend their lead.

Half time: Manchester Thunder 26 – 34 Loughborough Lightning

Stalwarts Hannah Joseph, Nat Panagarry and Beth Cobden hustled and continued to create shooting opportunities for Rhea Dixon and Mary Cholhok to execute with added flare.

A strong Panagarry challenge grounded Thunder’s Ella Bowen and was deemed enough for a 2-minute suspension providing the home side with an opportunity to narrow Lightning’s lead.

It was Lightning who maintained the composure required to hold a ten-goal lead. Panagarry and Joseph showed experience and built upon solid combinations through court, finding safe Cholhok hands who delivered lay-up after lay-up.

With 5 minutes left on the clock, Head Coach Vic Burgess made her first replacements. Ella Clark entered the court in place of an impressive Rhea Dixon and Annabel Roddy replacing Nicola Smith at goal defence.

From that point on, Lighting shifted into cruise control. A long-range Cholhok buzzer goal sent the arena into uproar in celebration.

Final score: Manchester Thunder 54 – 70 Loughborough Lightning

 Rhea Dixon was awarded the Kissimmee Player of the Match following a 95% success shooting performance at goal attack:

Head Coach, Vic Burgess was delighted with the Lightning performance and said:
“I cannot believe it, I am so proud of the girls, and they have put out a solid performance. Credit to Thunder, they did their homework and we had to adapt…

 I said to the girls at half time that the work rate has to be there if we want to do it and they really did that in the second half so I’m so proud of them. We’re back-to-back! Which is exactly what we wanted to do.”

Starting 7:

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

Img: Morgan Harlow

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