Severn Stars returned to the University of Worcester arena following their match against England Thorns on Monday night to play Manchester Thunder in round 7 of the Netball Super League. Both teams beat Team Bath in their last league fixture with Thunder getting the win 24 hours previous.
Following injuries to Lucy Herdman and Kelsie Taylor, Rachael Fee and Ruth Hughes were named in the side for the match.
Former University of Worcester student Iona Christian returned to the University of Worcester for the first time for her new club Manchester Thunder alongside Roses captain Nat Metcalfe and South African internationals Lenize Potgieter and Shandine Van Der Merwe.
Thunder were quick off the mark as they took a three-goal lead in the first three minutes of the game, but Goal Defence Rebekah Airey quickly made her first intercept of the game to help bring back the deficit.
Manchester Thunders Goal Shooter, South African international, Lenize Potgieter was called for an attacking contact on Head Coach Jo Trip and Stars were able to capitalise through Goal Shooter Sigi Burger holding strong under the post bringing the score back to level.
Both teams went goal for goal as the quarter progressed but a crucial interception from Stars defensive end help Stars to go one goal ahead.
Stars tactically managed the clock perfectly forcing Thunder to take the final centre pass of the quarter. With 5 seconds left on the clock, defensive pressure from Jo Trip forced the ball to go off the back line and the quarter finishes 14-13 to Stars.
Both teams remained unchanged going into the second quarter.
New Zealand Goal Attack Grace Namana got into the defensive action as she turned the ball over helping to increase the margin for Severn Stars to four goals.
The highly contested match went goal for goal in the 2nd quarter. Thunder capitalised from Stars held ball call and took the lead. Defending star Rebekah Airey wasn’t going to give up without a fight and made two consecutive interceptions within the space of 30 seconds, which brought the score back to level as the game was all tied at 29 a piece at the end of the first half.
Stars once again remained unchanged going into the third quarter. The quarter was a mix of emotions for the home side. Their hard work and constant play ensured they pulled away winning the quarter by 5 goals. However, Stars defender Rebekah Airey went down after a knock and was removed from the court making way for training partner and formed Wasps player Rachael Fee to enter the game.
Jess Shaw attacked every centre pass with speed. She worked well with captain Gabby Marshall in the middle. Scottish international Sarah MacPhail applied pressure throughout court forcing ball out of court and making interceptions at crucial times. Quarter 3 finished 46-41 in favour of the home team.
Manchester Thunder changed their attacking end going into the final quarter with England Roses captain Natalie Metcalf going into Goal Attack. Jess Haynes entered the game at GD to try and combat the Roses star.
Previous champions Thunder showed their experience and continued to fight from behind, slowly pulling it back. The score went goal for goal for the middle section of the final 15 minutes until a couple of crucial turn overs allowed Thunder to pull away. The noise of the Stars family continued until the final whistle. Final score 56-63 to Manchester Thunder.
Jo Trip was awarded the Let’s Culminate player of the match for her 60 minute tussle in the circle with Potgieter.
Severn Stars will have a double header weekend next weekend with an away fixture against former Stars Liana Leota, Paige Reed and Nia Jones new side Leeds Rhinos and back home on Sunday 2nd April where they take on Surrey Storm at the University of Worcester Arena at 4pm.