Severn Stars 43, Manchester Thunder 55
Severn Stars lost out 43 – 55 to Manchester Thunder, despite closing in on them in the third quarter of yesterday’s (Saturday, May 29) match at the Copperbox Arena.
Stars drastically improved the scoreline from their previous outing against Thunder this season, but it was Thunder who confirmed their Semi Final place.
It was a good start by Stars with Nia Jones at Wing Defence able to feed her fellow midcourters of Kyra Jones (Centre) and Liana Leota (Wing Attack) deep into the Stars’ attacking third. With Rowe (Goal Shooter) trying to use the ‘in and out’ to get close to the post, veteran Goal Keeper Kerry Almond for the Thunder defence took the opportunity to pounce in for the ball and create a two goal lead. Dee Bolakoro and Immy
Thomas as circle defence for Stars were also able to disrupt the Thunder attack and worked hard throughout the quarter to slow down the attacking line. The first quarter finished 11-7 to Manchester Thunder.
In the second quarter, Stars brought on Herdman to Goal Keeper but Thunder started with some slick and fast passages of play, being able to feed their accurate shooter Joyce Mvula and open up a 16-10 lead. Pressure on the pass by Emma Dovey (Goal Defence) created a Thunder turnover where Amy Carter was able to feed Mvula to stretch the lead to 8. With just over 4 minutes in the quarter and Thunder continuing to build their lead, Stars made changes with Malysha Kelly coming to Goal Keeper and Lucy Harris to Centre. The second quarter finished with a flurry of goals for both sides and the score finishing 28-17.
Stars brought Jane Taylor to Goal Attack for the third quarter and the change paid off with their attacking unit able to create more options for the ball carrier, finding Rowe with greater ease under the post, cutting Thunders’ lead to just 9 goals. An uncharacteristic error in Thunder’s attacking unit and some great quick hands from Jane Taylor and the lead was cut further to 7. Thunder’s coaching team responded by bringing Kerry Almond back to Goal Keeper but Stars stuck to task and were temporarily able to cut the lead to 5 before Almond came out of the fly for a fantastic intercept, allowing Thunder to finish the quarter 40-32.
Both teams started the fourth quarter strong with things going goal for goal and the first few centre passes. Thunder then began to turn the screw with more strong takes by shooter Joyce Mvula. Stars switched their Goal Attack’s once again and with just over 4 minutes left Manchester Thunder made wholesale changes bringing on several of their bench players at once, clearly feeling with the 12 goal lead they could reward squad players with court time. The game finished 55-43 to Manchester Thunder.
Severn Stars Head Coach, Melissa Bessell, said: “There is not really a lot for me to say, it has been a complete season of inconsistency for us.”
“The positives of this weekend are that we have been able to use these two games really well in our preparation for matches against Celtic Dragons and London Pulse,” she added.
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, will next face London Pulse on June 13. For more information on Severn Stars, visit the website www.severnstars.co.uk.