Severn Stars 40, London Pulse 42
Severn Stars ultimately lost out in the dying minutes of a close match against London Pulse.
Although the match momentum swung from one team to the other throughout, with little separating the sides and neither team able to gain a decisive lead, Pulse pulled away as the clock counted down to win 42-40.
With the sides only one place apart in the table, Severn Stars had been hoping to take the win this time in their penultimate game of the Vitality Netball Superleague, at London’s Copper Box Arena. The first quarter showed why they are so close in the League as the momentum continually shifted between the two sides.
Mistakes cost both teams’ attacking line ups and led to a low scoring quarter, with nothing to separate the teams at 8-8.
At the start of the second quarter, Stars began to sight goal shooter Georgia Rowe under the post earlier and, with strong holds, she was able to continue her excellent shooting form of 93 per cent across the season. This left Pulse’s defence, which included Player of the Match Funmi Fadoju, second guessing as to whether Stars were sending in the ball early or working it down through their goal attack Paige Reed. Stars felt the momentum swing in their favour and built up a three-goal lead. To counteract this, Pulse brought on Ellie Ratu at wing attack. A great baseline drive from Pulse’s goal attack Lefébre Rademan brought the score back to 18 apiece.
Though Pulse goal shooter Sigi Burger was called for replayed ball, Stars failed to use the opportunity and Pulse were able to create a two-goal lead, ending the first half in front, 21-19.
Stars started brightly after the interval, bringing the scoreline quickly back level. Pressure by Nia Jones at wing defence caused issues for Pulse’s attacking line in being able to bring the ball from the centre third to the goal third. However, once the ball reached the circle, Rademan continued to slot the goals for her side, and things remained tight going into the last quarter, at 30-30.
Stars came onto court fighting to quickly establish a two-goal lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Pulse were not about to lie down though and battled back to square the match 33-33 with seven minutes left. The connection between the Stars shooting partnership of Reed and Rowe came into its own as things became tight towards the end of the game, with the pair able to get close to the goal before putting up the shot. With three minutes left, play went goal for goal in line with the centre pass. A contact call against Pulse’s goal defence gave Stars the chance to capitalise, but miscommunication caused Severn Stars to miss the chance, and Pulse were clinical in their finish, pulling away for a 42-40 win.
Severn Stars Head Coach, Melissa Bessell, said: “I feel disappointed and dejected. We had our moments where we could have taken it, but we didn’t. We have one game left against Celtic Dragons and we will be giving that everything we’ve got.”
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, take on Celtic Dragons in their last game of the season at the Copper Box Arena in London, on Sunday (June 20), at 4pm.
For more information on Severn Stars visit www.severnstars.co.uk.