No Peace for Firebirds as Lightning dominate Queensland derby

The Sunshine Coast Lightning have dominated the Queensland derby, trouncing the Firebirds by 15 goals to keep them winless after three rounds of the 2019 season.

On a day Ugandan recruit Peace Proscovia announced herself as world netball’s newest shooting star with 53 goals for the match, the Lightning were too strong at both ends of court, winning three quarters to collect seven of a possible eight premiership points with a 71-56 win.

Proscovia played her first full game of Suncorp Super Netball and at times looked like threatening Jhaniele Fowler’s single-game scoring record, pouring in 17 goals as the Lightning led 21-15 at quarter-time.

Without captain and wing defence Gabi Simpson in the lineup after she was ruled out pre-game with an injury sustained in training on Thursday, the Firebirds unravelled in the second quarter, with wayward passing costing them dearly and the Lightning running riot as they piled on seven goals in a row to extend their lead to 14.

Only a late burst of four Firebirds goals kept them in touch at half-time, with the scoreline at 39-28.

In a desperate bid to quell Proscovia’s influence, Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke threw superstar goal shooter Romelda Aiken into goal keeper to start the third quarter. The Jamaican legend looked right at home at the opposite end of the court, coming up with four gains and another two deflections while curbing Proscovia’s aerial dominance and troubling Lightning goal attack Steph Wood’s shot.

Underlining her impressive defensive turn, Aiken had 35 Nissan Net Points for the quarter, compared to just 16.5 for the first two quarters combined in goal shooter.

The Firebirds won the quarter 17-15 to give themselves a sniff, and threw everything at the Lightning early in the final quarter, with a series of turnovers giving them the chance to close the gap to six. But they couldn’t capitalise, with errors again hurting them, while Lightning defenders Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni lifted their defensive rating to stem the flow.

A run of three and then four Lightning goals midway through the quarter saw them reestablish their match-winning edge, with the margin growing as large as 17 and Firebirds goal attack Gretel Tippett’s perfect 40-from-40 shooting a lone bright spot on an otherwise disappointing day for her team.

Score breakdown
Q1: Lightning 21 v Firebirds 15
Q2: Lightning 18 v Firebirds 13
Q3: Lightning 15 v Firebirds 17
Q4: Lightning 17 v Firebirds 11

Suncorp Super Netball Premiership Points
Lightning – 7
Firebirds – 1

Nissan Player of the Match
Peace Proscovia – Sunshine Coast Lightning

Lightning shooting statistics
Peace Proscovia: 53/55 (96.4%)
Steph Wood: 18/30 (60%)

Firebirds shooting statistics
Romelda Aiken: 10/15 (66.7%)
Gretel Tippett: 40/40 (100%)
Amy Somerville: 6/8 (75%)

Lightning starting seven:
GS – Peace Proscovia, GA – Steph Wood, WA – Laura Scherian, C – Laura Langman, WD – Madeline McAuliffe, GD – Karla Pretorius, GK – Phumza Maweni

Firebirds starting seven:
GS – Romelda Aiken, GA – Gretel Tippett, WA – Caitlyn Nevins, C – Mahalia Cassidy, WD – Tara Hinchliffe, GD – Kim Jenner, GK – Laura Clemesha