Contenders win big while others gain momentum

THE Loughborough Lightning have showed their class once again, defeating the Leeds Rhinos 71 goals to 55 to add another big win to their tally for this season.

A poor start really did cost the Rhinos in the end, as simple, jittery errors in attack saw them come undone as the Lightning showed their class and made them pay big time on the scoreboard.

It was a bit of a nervous start for both sides, as both sets of shooters had some rare misses early. It was the Lightning who were the first to settle, and they benefitted on the scoreboard by taking an early lead.

Simple errors from the Rhinos in attack were really costing them early as the Lightning were really utilising the long reach of Mary Cholhok to their advantage.

Beth Cobden was also making life hard for the Rhinos with a particularly impressive intercept game.

This all culminated in the Lightning taking a seven goal lead into the first break.

With a couple of quarter time substitutions the Rhinos started the second quarter a lot smoother and calmer than they were playing in the first term, but could only wipe a few goals of the deficit as the Lightning were still playing well.

But as the quarter progressed, the Rhinos were unable to maintain that as the simple mistakes that cost them in the first term crept back into the game, as the Lightning showed their class and really made the Rhinos pay. Michelle Magee and Geva Mentor had some impressive induvial moments, but unfortunately they were not being rewarded up the other end.

As the quarter drew to a close, Loughborough’s lead had grown to nine goals.

Things went from bad to worse for the Rhinos in the third term. Loughborough continued to put its foot down and really take control of the game. Ella Clark was sinking shots from long range and a 20 goal to 12 quarter saw the lead balloon out to 17 as the teams turned for home.

It was a very different story in the final term though. The Rhinos really lifted in the final term, and made the most of the little opportunities that they had been unable to for the 45 minutes of game time prior and really raised their intercept numbers in particular.

The Rhinos actually went on to win the quarter, but unfortunately for them it was by only one so it was too little too late.

In other results:

  • The Severn Stars showed why they are one of the teams to watch this season, picking up an important seven goal win over the London Pulse.

The Stars led the six goals at the first change which set the tone for the match, which meant that as the match tightened as it progressed, the Stars still maintained a lead.

  • The Cardiff Dragons picked up their second win of the season with a nine goal win over the Strathclyde Sirens.

The Dragons never led by much at any break, but still won each quarter to take home a handy win.

  • The Sarcens Mavericks also picked up their second win of the season with a 12 goal win over Team Bath.

Bath actually led early in the match, but an 18 goal to nine second term in favour of the Mavericks flipped the script in their favour and the Londoners built on it from there.

  • Manchester Thunder flexed their muscles with a comfortable 31 goal win over the Surrey Storm.

The Storm actually led at quarter time, but a +six goal second term, a +13 goal third term and a +14 goal final term in the Thunder’s favour well and truly ensured the result was in the Thunder’s favour.

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