Loughborough Lightning take a ten point advantage into the second leg of the Allianz Cup fifth place playoff after seeing out the game at Heywood Road 22-12.  

The two sides saw wholesale changes coming into the fixture and Lightning took an early lead after Lia Green slotted the first penalty of the day just after ten minutes.  

Sharks looked for a quick response and big carries from Detysha Harper and Morwenna Talling, the latter in her first game back from injury, drove the hosts down the pitch before home crowd favourite Lizzy Duffy dummied and crashed over the line for her first points since an ankle break saw her sidelined for six months.  

Loughborough discipline saw them lose Amelia Williams to the bin after thirty minutes but Sharks were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage and Cath O’Donnell burrowed her way over just before half time to give the visitors the edge 5-10 at the break.  

The second half saw a fast start for the travelling team as Lucia Linn capitalised on a powerful Loughborough break through midfield and twenty minutes later Lucy Caladine was over the whitewash off the back of a driving maul, extending the lead to 5-22.  

The yellow card was back out of the pocket late in the second half as Willow Bellow dummied and showed a clean pair of heels to the Loughborough defence before being pulled back by the hair from a scrambling Ellie Roberts. Debutant Jess Panayiotou took full advantage and scored with five to go to bring Sharks back into contention before the teams travel to Loughborough in two weeks to settle the tie.

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