Severn Stars 34 Saracens Mavericks 54

Severn Stars were defeated by a speedy Saracens Mavericks, 34-54, despite some good passages of play.

Stars took on the fifth placed team in the Vitality Netball Superleague at Studio 001, in Wakefield, yesterday (April 11), their last match before the action moves to London, hoping to bounce back after a recent loss against London Pulse. However, what started as a goal for goal first quarter changed as Mavericks quickly took advantage of Stars’ mistakes to extend a lead in the first quarter, which, despite two close quarters, Stars could not recover from.

Following the game, Stars Head Coach, Melissa Bessell, said: “We started off really well, but you know we just lost our way a little bit. When you’re only 10 down you know that you can still keep plugging, plugging, plugging. It was a good game, I enjoyed it. It was a nice little battle. Losing Bethan [Dyke, to injury], obviously it has certainly put on a lot of pressure but that’s why we have 15. It’s giving others an opportunity. We know that it’s the last time we’re up here and we will start afresh in two weeks.”

Stars’ first centre pass was taken straight to goal, finished by goal attack Paige Reed, but Mavericks quickly retaliated, putting their first goal on the board. With the close height matchup between Mavericks goal keeper, Jo Trip, and Stars goal shooter, Georgia Rowe, Stars made sure to add an extra bit of power on the ball when giving the overhead. A few early nerves and miscommunications from both teams highlighted that some changes had to be made. With Captain Nia Jones spotting Rowe in the circle by herself, the long ball in demonstrated to Mavericks that going into quarter two, they would need to be more body on body. However, the first quarter ended with them in front, 9-17, despite Stars’ shooting at 100 per cent.

Despite lots of changes to the Stars line-up, the players adapted quickly and capitalised on Mavericks’ early mistake at the start of the second quarter, with Stars’ goal keeper Lucy Herdman taking a rebound from shooter Ine-Mari Venter. With Mavericks increasing on their lead, the held ball in the last few seconds before the interval saw Stars shoot down the court to sink one last shot before the whistle. With Rowe and Reed still shooting at 100 per cent, Mavericks were only two goals in front over the quarter, leading at half-time, 17-27.

The third quarter saw bullet balls and pocket intercepts from Stars, but Mavericks’ speed was second to none. On a number of occasions Stars’ hard-working defensive unit forced Mavericks to slip up, however Stars could not capitalise on their turnovers, as the ball was taken in the air by Gabby Marshall and Sasha Corbin. Mavericks were able to maintain their lead, ending the quarter 25-35 ahead.

The final quarter saw many changes yet again for Stars. Despite hard work from the whole team, Mavericks defender Jo Trip was quick onto Stars’ unforced errors in the circle, which led to a run of five goals unanswered. Stars defender Dee Bolakoro’s use of body on body against Britney Clarke forced Mavericks to use the recycle option more, but Stars could not prevent the accurate shooting of Kadeen Corbin, with the match ending with victory to Mavericks, 34-54. Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, next face Strathclyde Sirens on the April 25, at 2.15pm.

Match report by Molly Geehan