By Grace Gunn
Severn Stars hold off a determined Celtic Dragons side to secure all three points in round 15 of the Netball Super League.
The home side came flying out of the traps, creating a seven-goal lead in the opening stages but Dragons grew into the quarter, but a dominant Stars led 16-13.
Stars continued with their flying start as they created a nine-goal lead heading into half time at 32-23, after the injured Rachel Dunn exited play for Dragons.
A stronger Dragons side closed out the third quarter, but the relentless Stars continued to lead as they headed into the final 15 minutes 45-40 up.
Despite battling hard, Dragons fell to a 62-56 defeat to the dominant Stars following a series of unforced errors and clinical finishes by the host’s attack.
Jo Trip’s Stars came out firing after an early turnover which saw attacking duo Sigi Burger and Grace Namana convert their opening goals.
An unsettled Dragons side saw a five-goal lead increase to six after MacPhail threaded a pinpointed feed into the arms of Burger who found herself open, converting once again.
However, as the quarter progressed, Nat Peperell’s side began to chip away at the deficit as goal attack Gabby Sinclair sunk a long-range effort.
Despite a surge from the attacking duo, Sinclair and Dunn, a buzzer beating goal from Burger, saw her side lead 16-13 after 15 minutes.
After going down in the first quarter, Dragons were forced into a change as the clinical Dunn was replaced by former Stars shooter, Georgia Rowe, who wasted no time in sinking her first goal.
A strong response from Dragons saw the game come to within just one goal after Shaquanda Greene-Noel intercepted the Stars attack; Rowe converted the turnover.
Stars began to regain their lead as Burger created a five goal cushion following a series of unforced errors from the visitors.
Rowe maintained her 100% goal conversion rate but their struggles in the third phase continued as Burger again netted ahead of the buzzer and led 32-23 at half time.
Stars continued to retain their nine-goal lead as Jess Shaw fed a long ball into Burger who found herself free under the post.
A held ball by Rowe saw Stars turnover play but a misplaced pass from Shaw allowed the Dragons to reset and break themselves as Sinclair again sunk her shot.
The deficit continued to be reduced as Greene-Noel again read play, cutting out Gabby Marshall’s low ball and set her side away before Rowe converted.
Dragons closed the gap to just four but a rapid turnover from Marshall and Namana, saw Stars once again convert a buzzer beater to stay five goals up heading into the closing quarter.
With just 15 minutes left to play, Stars earnt an early turnover following a dropped ball by Rowe. The link up play between Burger and Namana saw a seven-goal lead form.
A skilful feed from Shaw found Burger under the post as she netted the Stars’ 50th before Sinclair fought back and converted for her side.
An end-to-end quarter saw Peperell’s side retain one foot within the match as Rowe continued to keep the pressure on her former side, but a series of unforced errors crept into the Dragons’ play, providing Stars with opportunities.
Despite a valiant final quarter, Dragons saw the home side secure all three points with Burger scoring once again on the buzzer, confirming a 62-56 victory.
Celtic Dragon’s Gabby Sinclair named Player of the Match.
Severn Stars Let’s Culminate Player of the Match was Grace Namana
Photos by Clivejonespr.com