Loughborough Lightning 66, Severn Stars 46
Severn Stars were unable to overcome title chasing Loughborough Lightning in the team’s last away match of the season.
Lightning, currently second in the Vitality Netball Superleague, started strongly at the Sir David Wallace Arena, in Loughborough, on Saturday (May 21), but Stars fought back to bring the score level in the team’s penultimate game of the season. However, this was not to last, as the defending League champions stretched out their lead in each successive quarter.
Lightning made the most of the first centre pass and after capitalising on a held ball against Stars’ goal attack Paige Reed, went three goals up early on. Stars’ defence worked well together to help bring back the score to 6-5 thanks to Iman Thomas picking up a loose ball in the Lightning attack end. Welsh international, Bethan Dyke, made a tip in the Lightning attacking end that helped bring the score back level to 10 apiece. But Lightning made some interceptions in the final minutes of the first quarter to narrowly extend its lead 18-15.
The home side was quick to score two consecutive goals in the opening of the second quarter and continued to extend its advantage helped by shooter, Mary Cholhok, making her return from injury. Lucy Herdman made two tips to get the ball back in Stars’ possession and put goals on the board, then a further three flying interceptions, which helped close the deficit to 10 at half-time, 35-25.
Stars kicked off the second half with a goal and defender Dee Bolakoro was quick to come up with the rebound after a missed shot by Lightning, which Stars then converted. A flurry of Stars interceptions came through Dyke and Herdman to help close the gap, but Lightning continued to quickly score goals. Head Coach, Melissa Bessell made changes in both defence and attack, but Lightning made several turnovers, extending its lead out to 50-36 by the end of the third quarter.
Lucy Herdman wasted no time in the final quarter in getting Stars on the scoresheet, taking the rebound from another missed shot by Lightning. However, the home team also continued to pick up turnovers from Stars and increase its lead. Bessell made more substitutions to try and find answers against a strong Lightning side, but the score ended 66-46.
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, plays its last match of the Vitality Netball Superleague 2022 season against Strathclyde Sirens at the University of Gloucestershire Arena, on Sunday (May 29), at 3pm.
For more information or tickets visit www.severnstars.co.uk.
Match report written by Danielle Kennedy
Photos by Ben Lumley