Loughborough Lightning won a second Netball Super League title with an enthralling 57-48 win over London Pulse at a sold-out Copper Box Arena.
Pulse came out swinging in the first half opening up a six-goal margin in both quarters but Lightning always hit back to stay just two behind at the break.
Loughborough’s fight was a sign of what was to come as a devastating third quarter saw them move five goals ahead as their defence and attack clicked fully into gear.
The final quarter saw no letting up from either side but with Pulse chasing the lead, and a first-ever title, they were ultimately left with too much to do.
Vic Burgess’ side used all their experience to extend their lead and close out the final 15 minutes to secure a famous victory.
Vitality Rose Fran Williams was named Gilbert Player of the Match after an impressive display in which she recorded 10 turnovers, six deflections and four interceptions.
— Netball Super League (@NetballSL) June 11, 2023
Meanwhile, Manchester Thunder ended their season on a high with a third-place finish in the Netball Super League after a convincing 55-38 win over Surrey Storm.
The third-place decider was a ferocious encounter but the cool-headedness of Vitality Rose Nat Metcalf and Lenize Potgieter safely steered Thunder to victory.
Karen Greig’s side ran away with the game in the third quarter in front of a packed-out Copper Box Arena.
But Mikki Austin’s squad held their heads high as they secured their best finish since they last won the competition in 2016.
Speaking after Metcalf said: “We wanted to be in that final, that’s what we set out to do. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, but we named today as our final and that’s how we wanted to play it.
“It was about how we attacked today, stepped into that challenge and enjoyed it. It’s just about being all together and soaking in the moment and it’s such hard work to get to a final four so relish to opportunity, you might never get there again.
“The netball today was so much more about the off-court stuff, in the pre-season, off-season for the coaches and the fans and pulling together to get that win.”
The Netball Super League is the UK’s elite domestic netball competition and features ten teams from England, Wales and Scotland. For more information visit netballsl.com
The Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship will return to the Copper Box Arena, London on Friday 16 June, with eight sides from the NSL set to compete over five exhilarating hours of evening action from 5:30pm broadcast live on Sky Sports. Buy tickets here.