WASPS Netball fell to a last-gasp defeat, just their second of the season, in a 60-59 thriller with Loughborough Lightning.
Mary Cholhok’s goal at the death condemned the visiting Wasps, leaving them joint-top with Manchester Lightning – the only other team to beat them this season.
Mel Mansfield’s side were eight goals up going into the final-quarter, but witnessed a storming comeback from the hosts, one that left her short on words at full-time.
“I’m a bit speechless to be honest. It’s really tough to lose a game like that.
“I thought that defensively we were brilliant this evening for the whole game and we were in control to start the final-quarter.
The Wasps head coach stressed the need to finish off teams and to manage the game better in periods of pressure, and attested those as points as the reason for the defeat.
“All of those things didn’t happen in the last quarter and we put ourselves under huge amounts of pressure.
“We will all take responsibility for this loss, players and coaches.”
Rachel Dunn got the scoring underway for the Black and Golds, but Cholhok scored the first of a number of goals against the visitors to level.
The two players shone throughout the opening-quarter, as the Lightning struck to overturn Wasps’ three-goal advantage to lead by two at the end of the first-quarter.
That advantage would extend to five goals, as Loughborough demonstrated their class, Nat Panagarry controlling the show for the hosts by winning the ball back time and again.
However, it’s difficult to keep Wasps penned in for too long, as they began to work their way back into the game through the goals provided by Katie Harris.
Josie Huckle added more clinical finishing as the visitors went in at half-time two goals up.
Bongi Msomi was a key player in the third period, getting the ball forward quickly to the attack, whilst Harris and Dunn remained clinical shooting for goal.
Going into the final-quarter, Wasps remained resolute, but their position began to look ominous when Hannah Joseph won a turnover to allow Loughborough to limit the deficit to two.
That won momentum for the hosts, who could smell an opportunity to win the game, and so it proved when coming down to the final centre-pass in the last 30 seconds.
Working the ball through to Cholhok, who tucked away the final shot of the game to win it for Lightning.
Wasps will be desperate to get the loss out of their system, but travel to fellow table-toppers Manchester Thunder on Saturday (5pm) in another crucial fixture.