Barbadian netball professional Nikita Piggott and her Loughborough Lightning played their best game of the season at home but still came out on the losing end going down 48-46 to the Yorkshire Jets in the English Netball Super League on Monday night.
It was their tenth straight defeat in a winless season.Lightning started with the first centre pass of the game, and after a few mistakes by both sides, settled in to play.
Beth Payne made her second start of phase two of the competition as she looked to make an impact ahead of usual starter Piggott. At the start there was some good defending by the Yorkshire Jets which made it difficult for Lightning to feed the ball in to their attacking circle.
However, Lauren Steadman made some inspired interceptions working well with Jamaican Vanessa Walker to take the ball up to the away end. Walker provided some great feeds in to the circle for Payne to finish off nicely with a goal. Some great play saw the first quarter end with a narrow 11-10 lead to Lightning.The game maintained its intensity in the second quarter which ended 24-25 to Jets.
With all to play for, the third quarter began with some changes for the Lightning side with Piggott replacing Walker at goal attack. Some end to end action saw Loughborough narrow the deficit with some excellent rebounds to regain possession of the lead whilst the centre court players took advantage of some mistakes made by Jets.
Injuries for both teams meant the flow of the game was broken allowing the score to stay even at 36-36 at the end of the third quarter.
A nerve-racking final fifteen minutes saw Steadman work tirelessly at wing defence to repeatedly make some crucial interceptions but the Jets held on for the tight win. For Lightning Payne had 32 goals from 39 attempts, while Piggott had eight goals from 14 attempts and Walker six goals from nine attempts.
Only a mathematical miracle can now salvage the season for Loughborough Lightning.