Wasps Netball 55 - 51 Loughborough Lightning
Wasps Netball took home the Vitality Netball Superleague trophy for a second year in a row following a nail-biting win against Loughborough Lightning.
Tamsin Greenway’s team have now won the league title in each of the two seasons since joining the Superleague.
The game was hard-fought throughout, with neither team leading by more than six goals at any point – but a series of late turnovers saw Wasps take victory at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Wasps Netball director Greenway, who started the game, says she was able to enjoy the win – her fourth title in succession – more than last season.
“I’m ecstatic, we will all remember every moment from the whole day,” said Greenway.
“I enjoyed it more this year than last year. I’m really pleased with them all and the performances they put in today.
“It wasn’t the perfect start but you don’t lose the final in the first few minutes. We had opportunity to push out the score but we couldn’t do that and that is testament to how good Loughborough are.
“Rachel Dunn was excellent today, she won player of the match and came out on top against one of the best defenders in the league in Shamera Sterling.
“We’ve won it together twice with Wasps and four years in a row so I don’t think we have anything left to prove.”
It was a nervy start for both teams in London, with a series of turnovers in the opening minutes.
Veteran shooter Dunn put the first goal of the game on the board for Wasps, responding to the opening goal from Lightning’s Peace Proscovia.
Loughborough found their rhythm mid-way through the quarter but their momentum was halted by a high-reaching intercept from Wasps’ captain Hannah Knights.
Lightning were dealt a significant blow with one minute to play in the opening quarter, as young defensive star Beth Cobden was carried off court with a knee injury.
There was no sign of a let-up intensity, however, as the second period began, with Proscovia and Sam May involved in an keen battle in the circle.
Proscovia proved why she finished as league top scorer this season, keeping her team in front and using her athleticism to create space.
With less than five minutes to play in the half, Dunn gave the black-and-gold their first lead of the game, sparking a goal-scoring run which saw the Wasps lead grow to four by halftime.
Wasps kept their momentum going to start the third quarter, extending their advantage to six, as Lightning struggled to adjust to the Greenway’s half-time adjustments.
Dunn looked totally focussed when presented with chances under the net, despite Vicky Oyesola threatening to intercept at any opportunity.
A late goal from Proscovia brought Lightning within three to set-up a blockbuster final quarter.
Wasps opened the final 15 minutes with a turnover to let Lightning back in to the contest and within two minutes Loughborough were back level.
Two interceptions in quick succession from May and Amy Flanagan gave the momentum back to Wasps - with Haythornthwaite converting into goals at the opposite end.
A rare miss from Proscovia and rebound by Hannah Knights sealed the win for Wasps.
Player of the match: Rachel Dunn
Wasps Netball starting seven: GK Sam May; GD Hannah Knights; WD Jade Clarke; C Sophia Candappa; WA Tamsin Greenway; GA Natalie Haythornthwaite; GS Rachel Dunn
Loughborough Lightning starting seven: GK Shamera Sterling; GD Vicky Oyesola; WD Beth Cobden; C Natalie Panagarry; WA Hannah Joseph; GA Ella Clark; GS Peace Proscovia