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R9 & 10 = W and L for Stars

Thrilling Win for Severn Stars Keeps Them Fifth in League.

Severn Stars had a busy weekend, with a thrilling win followed by defeat to the League leaders, which keeps them fifth in the Netball Super League table.
The team earned an historic first win over Leeds Rhinos in a closely contested encounter which saw Stars take the victory in the final few moments, 51-53. But they were brought back down to earth with a 42-79 defeat at home to Surrey Storm yesterday (Sunday March 26).

The weekend opened on Friday evening (March 24) away at the University of Hull’s Allam Sports Centre, where Stars went goal for goal with Rhinos in the opening minutes. Stars’ defensive resoluteness caused problems, forcing the home side to work around the shooting circle. Continuing her great form, Stars defender and Head Coach, Jo Trip, forced Rhinos’ attack into an error, but the Stars counterattack was halted after an Elle McDonald interception. There was not much between the teams at the close of the first quarter, with Rhinos ahead 17-16.

Stars’ defensive stability continued to slow down Rhinos’ attack, but McDonald’s rapid ball in found Brie Grierson in space to score. The Worcester-based side began to increase their tempo. Rhinos’ Vicki Oyesola proved to be a handful for Stars’ attack as the defender cut out a dangerous ball in from Stars captain and Player of the Match, Gabby Marshall, setting her side away. The home side let 29-27 at the interval.

Stars wasted no time in overturning the two-goal deficit, but Rhinos kept up the pressure and a rapid start to the third quarter saw them force a turnover. A series of individual errors from both sides saw Stars regain possession and convert, but they remained behind, with the stage set for a tight last quarter, 39-38.

Both sides flew out of the blocks for the remaining quarter, but it was Stars who started the better as Sigi Burger continued her clinical shooting. Again, Stars were on the charge, putting themselves two goals up after Trip drew a penalty. But in the closing stages, Rhinos’ defence intercepted as Grace Namana looked to feed the ball around to Burger, which led to Rhinos shooter Paige Reed scoring twice in quick succession to draw the game level. However, a held ball from Reed in the attacking circle allowed Stars to break away, drawing a two-goal lead and earning them a fourth win of the season.

Two days later, Stars looked to continue their good form at home to Surrey Storm at the University of Worcester Arena on Sunday (March 26).
But it was Storm who got off to a quick start going three goals up without response. Storm’s Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia proved why she is sitting at the top of the League’s goal scoring table, showing her strength under the post and accuracy in the opening minutes of the game.

Goal defence Jess Haynes made the first turnover for Stars, tipping the ball into teammate Sarah MacPhail, but they were unable to capitalise. As the quarter went on, both sides found their attacking flow, but it was the visitors who ended the first quarter strongly holding a 10-20 lead.

Trip, who started the match with an unchanged line-up, made changes in attack going into the second quarter, but Storm scored five quick goals in succession. Trip made further changes, this time in defence, but Storm continued to disrupt Stars’ attacking end forcing errors and turnovers, earning them a daunting 19-39 lead at half-time.

Storm were quick out of the blocks in the third quarter turning over Stars’ centre pass, but Stars responded. Shooter Sigi Burger re-entered the court for Stars and was quickly able to rekindle her partnership with Marshall at centre. But despite this and due to Stars’ defensive errors, Storm extended their lead, 27-63.

Stars’ defence engineered three quick turnovers early in the final quarter through a rebound and two interceptions in an effort to reduce the deficit. Further defensive pressure by goalkeeper Jasmine Brown, making her Netball Super League debut, saw Stars shooters putting final goals on the board. Though it was too late to change the game, Stars did stem the goals, ensuring Storm only extended their lead by one to take the win 42-79.

IMG: Clive Jones PR

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