2023 was a year of many first in the club’s history with the biggest being ending the season first in the league and making our first ever Grand Final.
The weekend started on Friday with a home semi-final against Surrey Storm. A tight first half saw Pulse go into the break up by 2 goals. Pulse came out firing for the 3rd quarter and took their game to another level. With Berri running the circle ragged, Jade giving 100 percent for every second and Zara putting in a captain’s shift, the quarter was 17-9 to Pulse and they went into the final quarter 10 goals in the lead 42-32.
On the brink of more club history and Pulse’s first ever Grand Final appearance, they did not let their foot off the gas. Olivia was unstoppable, ending the game with 35 goals from 37 attempts – 95% for the match. Chelsea and Jade feeding with ease whilst the defensive unit of Funmi, Hali and Zara showed why they have the best record in the league. The match ended 55-43 in Pulse’s favour and the CopperBox Arena erupted.
Next up, Pulse’s maiden appearance in the Grand Final. Pulse enjoyed a blistering start as they raced into a 7-1 lead inside the opening few minutes. Lightning worked hard to pull the game back in their favour and a strong 2nd half from their team saw them take the win. Despite the devastating loss, the entire Pulse Family are so proud of the fight that the team put up.
Captain Zara Everitt had this to say: “We absolutely had the belief going into this game that we could win, and we know that had everything come together on the day we could have taken it to Loughborough, we beat them twice this season, but they were too good.
“They were super clinical with ball in hand, we didn’t look after our turnovers.
“We have made history just by being here and we knew that coming into it but of course, you always want more.
“It is what I said to the girls at the end, there are always positives to take from this. Off the court, we had an amazing experience as a team and we will take that forward going into next season.
“I know that this club is going to be gunning for more. We have Sam at the helm who is super ambitious, and we will be looking for that trophy next year.”
Pulse enjoyed a dream start, as Everitt intercepted a ball within the first minute to shift the momentum in favour of the regular season table-toppers.
But Lightning, who have appeared in the last three Grand Finals, used all their experience to eventually find their feet to help level the scores just after half-time before moving four goals in front with 15 minutes remaining.
Pulse fought to get back into the game in search of a first-ever title but were unable to break down Lightning head coach Sam Bird said they were beaten by the better side on the day.
“We already have the squad to win it, but we were beaten by a better team today,” she said.
“That’s Loughborough’s third final, it’s our first and we will learn from it and come back stronger.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I am never satisfied. We want to be unashamedly ambitious with what we create, we want to find players that don’t even know how good they are and coach them, inspire them, and we will be back.
“The job is never done, the seasons roll into each other. It is really important to get a good roster, it is really important to get players who want to play for the club.
“I think you can see today the players were proud to play for the club and that is part of our thinking on who we recruit; it is not about individuals it is about what they can give to the club. That is already in progress.”
As we finish out the season, We are so proud of everything we have achieved and look forward to Fast5 this weekend and then supporting our amazing Roses players at the Netball World Cup. Then our attention turns quickly to the 2024 season and winning the Grand Final!