Grand Final rematch lives up to the hype

ROUND 3 of the Netball Super League saw a grand final rematch that lived up to the expectations, with the London Pulse avenging last year’s heartbreak by defeating the Loughborough Lightning by a mere goal.

The Lightning had a chance to take the lead sooner than they ultimately did but some rare inaccurate shooting meant that they spoiled that chance. It was however not long before the Lightning did ultimately get the lead. But, like a true Grand Final rematch they were not able to keep the lead for too long as the Pulse took the lead midway through the term.

Both teams moved the ball with speed and precision down the court so intercept opportunities were limited to the defensive thirds.

Things remained tight as the quarter came to an end, but after a late burst it was the Pulse who held a three goal lead at the first change.

The Lightning were the ones to get the better start in the second term, quicky working away at the deficit and ultimately eliminating it. Nicola Smith was getting some strong intercepts and Mary Cholhok and Ella Clark were rewarding her hard work up the other end.

The second quarter was again tight, but the Lightning ultimately went on to win it by a goal to see the half time margin down to just two.

The Lightning got the jump again in the third term, picking up a few handy intercepts to take the lead and establish a bit of a buffer.

However the Pulse would not go away, and thanks to the likes of Halimat Adio and Funmi Fadoju made sure the Lightning could not streak too far ahead. Olivia Tchine was also impressing, using her body and aerial ability well to cleanly take plenty of feeds and convert.

The lead swapped between the teams several times as the quarter progressed, but as the teams turned for home the Pulse had started to streak away a little, and took a four goal lead into the final change.

The final term saw the Lightning again be the ones that got the jump, quickly bringing the margin back to as low as two before the Pulse really got going. The Pulse did eventually get going though, and put an end to the Lightning’s run of momentum.

Once the Pulse managed to do that things really started to tighten up, as neither side could break free of the other and get any kind of real momentum.

The Lightning did take a slight lead late, but a crucial mistake in attack gave the Pulse a chance to get back in the game and they took it.

It all came down to one last goal from Tchine with mere seconds left in the match, which saw the Pulse ultimately take the win.

In other results:

  • Cardiff is on the board for 2024 after beating Leeds Rhinos by a solitary goal.

The Dragons were building a strong lead in the first half before the Rhinos came right back and reduced the margin down to one at the final change. However, both teams drew the final term which allowed Cardiff to hold on.

Nia Jones and Jacqui Newton continued their strong start to the season in defence for Cardiff, while Geva Mentor lead from defence for the Rhinos, assisted in midcourt by the workhorse that is Caroline O’Hanlon.

  • The Surrey Storm are also on the board for 2024, after they defeated the Saracens Mavericks by nine goals.

The Mavericks were actually the ones to take an early lead, before the Storm took control and built from there.

Bethany Dix and Rachel Fee starred for the Storm, while Ellie Rattu picked up a massive 41 feeds for the Mavericks.

  • The Severn Stars continued their strong start to the season, this time downing Team Bath by 28 goals.

The win was instigated by an 18-10 first quarter in favour of the Stars, who then kept that momentum going as the quarter progressed, and their lead just kept growing as a result.

Jasmine Brown had another stellar game in defence for the Stars, while Sigrid Burger was on song in attack, shooting plenty and missing very few.

Meanwhile Bethan Dyke led from the front for Bath with a busy performance in midcourt, ably assisted by Phoebe Maslen.

  • Manchester Thunder remain undefeated in 2024 after another big win, this time by 40 goals over the Strathclyde Sirens.

The quarter time scoreline of 23-9 really set the tone of how the match would eventuate, and even though the Sirens managed to draw the final quarter the damage was well and truly already done.

Josie Huckle was impressive in defence for the Thunder, while Natalie Metcalf again starred in midcourt.

Up the other end Cerys Finn certainly put it all on the line for the Sirens, but it was a tough ask with how much action she saw.

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