Defending champs back in NSL decider

REIGNING Netball Super League (NSL) champions, Loughborough Lightning are still in the running to go back-to-back after defeating the London Pulse 59-47 to progress through to this year’s decider. The match was a lot closer in its opening stages than the final score would suggest, but the Lightning blew the game open in the third term, which made all the difference.

It was near impossible to split the sides early in the match. As much as the defensive exploits of Funmi Fadoju and Halimat Adio were making life hard for the Lightning’s shooters, Beth Cobden and Alice Harvey were doing the exact same thing up the other end.

This level of evenness was maintained throughout the first term, and as such the score was 11 all at the first break.

The start to the second term was littered with mistakes, with both sides falling fowl of the umpire’s whistle. Eventually the Lightning did settle and built the game’s first true lead, and it got out to as much as four goals. Some wayward passing in attack did not help the Pulse’s case, and although they briefly fought back and cut the margin in half, the Lightning then steadied to take a four goal lead into the main break.

The third quarter was where things went downhill for the Pulse.

The Lightning just continued to ride the wave of momentum early in the third term, and quickly blew out their lead. Loughborough started to really rack up the crucial defensive intercepts and were able to transition the ball back up court and into its circle with a speed that the Pulse just could not keep up with.

The Lightning lead continued to grow as the quarter progressed – even reaching into double figures – as the home side’s class continue to shine and they continued to prove why they are the reigning champions.

The Pulse continued to chop and change with their on court line up, in all three areas of the court, but nothing they tried did not seem to work.

It got out to as much as 13 goals the difference, but ultimately sat at 11 the difference at the final change. That ultimately proved to be the defining quarter for the match, as the Lightning went on to also win the last quarter by a single goal to take the win.

LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING 11 | 14 | 17 | 17 (59)
LONDON PULSE 11 | 11 | 10 | 16 (47)

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