Pulse and Lightning progress to big dance

OVERNIGHT Australian time saw the two semi finals of the Netball Super League, with the London Pulse and Loughborough Lightning winning through to Sunday’s decider in very different circumstances.

Pulse navigate Storm to comfortable win

In the first of the two semi-finals it was the London Pulse who showed their class and won 55 goals to 42 over the Surrey Storm. The match began tight, but a strong third quarter from the Pulse was ultimately the difference as the margin proved too big for the Storm to chase down in the end.

The Pulse moved the ball very quickly off their opening centre pass, but ultimately it was a little bit too quick as the Storm were able to turn the ball over and score off the opening centre pass.

Unfortunately for the Storm they could not convert off their opening centre pass, so the scoring returned to being on centre pass. It went goal for goal for much of the front half of the quarter, until Layla Guscoth was able to take the intercept in defence and the Storm converted and then consolidated off the next centre pass to go two goals ahead.

However they were unable to maintain their lead for the entire of the remainder of the quarter as the Pulse levelled up proceedings late. But as quickly as the Pulse had levelled up again the Storm retook their lead. The Pulse got one back in the dying seconds of the quarter though, to see the quarter time margin at a mere single goal in favour of the Storm.

Unsurprisingly the Pulse were quick to eliminate the deficit early in the second quarter, and did build a lead about five minutes into the term. The ball speed from the Pulse in the second term was quick, but not too fast for their own players to handle, unlike in the first term.

Once the Pulse had built that two to three-goal lead, the game went into a goal for goal rhythm, so in the end it was a two goal lead to the Pulse at the main break.

That ball speed continued to be a key ingredient in the Pulse’s game in the third term as their lead grew even further. The Pulse really lifted in the third term, and showed why they are the minor premiers this year and showed they are a class above the Storm. The margin pushed up to double digits late in the term, and ultimately sat at 10 goals in the final change.

That third quarter proved to be the difference in the end as the margin proved to be too big for the Storm to take down as the Pulse continued to play a level above the Storm and glided their way into Sunday’s decider.

Funmi Fadoju finished with a whopping 19 deflections in her side’s win, to go with eight turnovers and a rebound. Meanwhile further up the court Chelsea Pitman (28 feeds, one deflection, one intercept, one turnover) and Jade Clarke (24 feeds, three intercepts, three deflections, three turnovers) were both doing a mountain of work through midcourt.

On the flipside, Guscoth (six deflections, six turnovers, two intercepts) had a strong game for the Storm, while Mikki Austin (20 feeds) was at times fiery but always pushing hard for her team.

Lightning hold hold off Thunder thanks to four minute spell

Loughborough Lightning became the second team through to Sunday’s Grand Final after they defeated Manchester Thunder 65 goals to 59. The Lightning proved how important a mere four minutes can be, with a dominant patch at the back end of the third quarter ultimately all that separated the teams.

Thanks to a wayward opening foray into the Thunder attacking third, the Lightning were able to turn it over and not only score off that centre pass but consolidate off their own first centre pass to take the early lead.

That early turnover proved handy for the Lightning as thing remained tight and a goal for goal affair for much of the quarter. However the Lightning were able to grow their lead a bit further late in the piece off the back of a Fran Williams turnover. In the end the Lightning took a four goal lead into the first change, but the game felt even tighter than that.

The Thunder had the better of the starts to the second term, and got within one of their hosts, and then eventually eliminated the deficit. For about 10 minutes of the quarter it was impossible to split the sides. It was a goal for goal affair and neither side was giving an inch. One last goal late to the Thunder saw the away side take a one-goal lead into the main break.

The Thunder maintained their lead for much of the opening exchanges of the third term, but in the blink of an eye the Lightning were back level again. It took until the final four minutes of the quarter for either side to wrestle momentum, and it was the Lightning, who pulled ahead late to take a six goal lead into the final change.

That four minute patch proved to be one hell of a definitive four minutes. The Thunder swung the changes at three quarter time to try get that spark they needed to reel in the deficit.

These changes saw them quickly halve their deficit, but the Lightning quickly retook control and restored their six goal lead. Ultimately the teams were even for the quarter, which meant that the six-goal three quarter time lead was also the final margin.

Mary Cholhok (56 goals, eight rebounds) was again hard to stop for the Lightning despite an unusually high number of misses, while Natalie Panagarry (28 feeds, three deflections, one intercept, one turnover) also had a captain’s game.

Meanwhile for the Thunder Lenize Potgieter (51 goals), Natalie Metcalf (42 feeds, one goal) and Josie Huckle (10 deflections, six turnovers, three intercepts) all starred.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments