Severn Stars were unable to continue their winning ways from the weekend, succumbing to a clinical and strong Surrey Storm last night (February 13), 76-51.
In a physical game, though Stars managed to put up more than 50 goals, the opposition forced them into making errors.
Both teams came into the game buoyed up by wins on the first day of the new Netball Superleague season and it was goal for goal in the first few minutes. Each took a few minutes to settle into the match, at the Surrey Sports Park, with defences turning early balls over. Stars shooters Grace Namana and Sigi Burger connected well in an unchanged starting line-up for Stars, but it was Storm who steamed ahead in the final five minutes of the quarter, going 21-13 in front.
In the second quarter Head Coach Jo Trip rang the made changes, bringing on Rebekah Airey at goal defence and moving herself to goal keeper. But Storm shooting duo Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and Proscovia Peace continued to connect well in the shooting circle. Jess Haynes entered the court at wing defence, replacing Sarah MacPhail, and Stars immediately turned the ball over. The final few minutes saw a Superleague debut for 17-year-old player Lily Smith, who went on to score her first goal for Stars. But these changes could not prevent Surrey Storm carving out a 37-24 advantage at half-time.
In the second half, debutant Smith, at goal attack, worked well, creating space and finding Burger under the post. Both teams forced turnovers. A rebound from a miss by Drakeford-Lewis was picked up by Trip and converted by Burger. An interception by Stars’ Captain, Gabby Marshall, on the circle end led to another goal and there was a further Stars debut for Kelsie Taylor. The lead now stood at a daunting 54-36 going into the final 15 minutes.
Trip made changes in defence and, though Stars continued to push their opponents right to the last whistle, Storm extended the lead again to the delight of their home crowd.
Severn Stars, owned by the University of Worcester, now look to their first home game at the University of Worcester Arena against Strathclyde Sirens this Saturday (February 18), at 7pm.
For tickets or more information visit www.severnstars.co.uk.
Photos thanks to Eva Gilbert.