Match Preview: Severn Stars look to bounce back as they face Team Bath in the Vitality Super League
Severn Stars return to their Gloucester-based home on Saturday, February 26 as they welcome fans back to the Oxstalls Arena for the first time this season where they will face last season’s runners up, Team Bath.
Melissa Bessell’s side suffered a loss in round four after facing the tough Saracens Mavericks, punished for a brief loss of concentration in the second, yet winning the last quarter. The head coach can take positives from the game as her side fought to the final whistle.
Their opponents, Bath, will also be looking to turn their form around after suffering a second defeat of the season against Surrey Storm.
Last season’s finalists have two wins from four this season, with victories against Strathclyde Sirens and Leeds Rhinos, placing them in fourth. The Severn Stars pursue their second win of the season following their opening day win against Surrey Storm. The two sides have met 10 times in the past five years and have had some close encounters, Severn Stars will be looking to come out winners.
The Blue and Gold’s team may remain depleted after injury and availability struggles as the side were without Hannah Passmore, Rachel Shaw, and Serena Guthrie in their previous game.
England Roses’ captain Guthrie was granted an extended break due to her involvement in the recent International Quad series.
Despite the injury concerns, the side will have a wide range of experience including the trio of Vitality Roses: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Layla Guscoth, and newly appointed Bath captain Imogen Allison.
For the Stars, Bessell could welcome new signing Catherine Tuivaiti into the squad for the first time with the goal shooter hinting at a very close return following a minor calf injury.
The potential return of star signing Tuivaiti could cause Bessell a positive selection headache as Isabelle Eaton has been in great form this season after creating a powerful partnership with Paige Reed.
New signing Katie Harris has also been a great addition to the Stars side after positive cameos in the first four games this season.
Stars’ coach Bessell could also be left with a selection dilemma in the defensive third after defender Lucy Herdman made a positive impact from the substitute bench against the Mavericks.
Goalkeeper Summer Artman had a tough job up against the League’s top scorer Ine-Mari Venter, but she was able to hold her ground and isolate the attacker at times.
Dee Bolakoro replaced Herdman in the starting line-up and didn’t disappoint after some key vital interceptions for her side.
In the mid court, captain Liana Leota will look to retain her place in the starting line-up alongside Bethan Dyke, who earned Stars’ player of the match in the previous game after a great performance.
Both sides will be hoping to put previous losses behind them and add three points to their tallies in round five of the League.
The match will take place at the Oxstalls Arena in Gloucester on Saturday, February 26, with FCP scheduled at 18:00.