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SEVERN Stars marked their Vitality Superleague debut with a defeat as they went down 58-40 at Surrey Storm on Saturday.

It was always going to be a tough task for the Worcester-based franchise against the reigning champions at Surrey Sports Park.

But Stars came out all guns blazing as they took a five-goal lead in the few minutes.

Australian import Josie Janz-Dawson was turning over a lot of ball and showing good defensive presence.

Although Stars finished the quarter 11-10 in front, Storm settled and started to play with a steady and consistent attacking game.

Mo’onia Gerrard’s side were slow to react as goal shooter Megan Craig benefitted from good service to put Storm 30-20 ahead at half-time.

Looking to turn the tide, Yasmin Hodge-England came off the bench to make her first Superleague appearance at goal attack.

And she made a positive impact, working well with Eleanor Cardwell, who landed 33 of her 39 shots (85 per cent), as Stars shared the third quarter 13-13.

But Storms maintained their 10-goal cushion and increased their advantage in a scrappy and physical end to the encounter.

Stars captain Laura Malcolm admitted they needed to improve their consistency as they look ahead to Saturday’s trip to Loughborough Lightning (12pm).

“There were a lot of positives to take from the game,” Malcolm said.

“We showed we can compete in quarters one and three, but we just need to recognise and replicate the good stuff over and over again.”

Geoff Berkeley