Severn Stars 27, Wasps 53

Severn Stars were defeated by a clinical and high-flying Wasps side, 53-27, in the Midlands derby.

Stars took on fourth placed Wasps in the Vitality Netball Superleague yesterday (April 26) hoping for a positive result after defeat against Strathclyde Sirens the day before. But after an even start at London’s Copper Box Arena, Wasps picked up on Stars’ unforced errors in the second quarter, taking their lead all the way to the end.

The first quarter was initiated by Wasps, who took their centre pass straight to goal, but Stars retaliated after brilliant link up play between goal attack Paige Reed and wing attack Liana Leota on the circle edge. The rest of the quarter saw similar play and all four shooters score some brilliant goals. However, both teams displayed some scrappy passes and shots, which eventually led to Wasps picking up the pace and taking the lead, 12-9.

Wasps displayed their finesse in the second quarter and Stars’ unforced errors were easy to score from. With no changes to either teams, Stars were quick to get the ball into the circle but Player of the Match, Josie Huckle, was hot on the heels of shooter Georgia Rowe when the ball was in play for a rebound. Despite Stars defenders Lucy Herdman and Dee Bolakoro being body on body with Rachel Dunn and Katie Harris, the Wasps shooters were formidable in the sinking of long bombs and under the post shots, finishing the quarter 24-12 ahead.

Looking to make a comeback after the interval, Stars took the first centre pass, only to be immediately turned over by Wasps. However, with young-gun Issy Eaton entering the court for Stars, her determination was second to none, sinking her first shot from just inside the circle. Stars’ defence increased the pressure, with Herdman trying to keep Dunn high in the circle, out of her shooting comfort zone, but she managed to get under the post to score yet another goal. There were improved passages of play from Stars, but the speed of Wasps in mid-court ensured they ultimately extended their lead, 37-21.

In the final quarter, Stars wanted to finish the game in style and did. With no-look passes and overhead balls from the centre third, the team demonstrated its quality, despite the score. Eaton’s holding on Hannah Leighton meant she could receive high balls from Leota, which she then put through the net with ease. Both teams saw the game out strongly, with Wasps taking the victory, 53-27.

Stars Head Coach, Melissa Bessell, said: “I’m really pleased with our start. I thought we did really well, and I think moving forward and looking at that game I am over the moon with Issy Eaton. She’s only 16! She played against Josie who got Player of the Match. For a young 16-year-old who was very nervous, I am so proud of her. I’ll take the first quarter.”

Severn Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, next face Surrey Storm on Saturday (May 1).

For more information on Severn Stars visit the website

Match Report by Molly Geehan, images by Morgan Harlow