Severn Stars’ Head Coach ,Sam Bird, said she was excited for the season ahead after seeing her 2019 squad in action for the first time at this year’s British Fast5 All-Stars Championship.
The team impressed in the new netball format, reaching the semi-final stages of the tournament, matching last year’s achievement. Despite falling short against Benecos Mavericks, Bird said there were many positives to take from the experience ahead of the Superleague season, which starts in January.
“Overall, it was a fantastic day for Stars, which makes me even more excited for the season ahead,” she said. “There is hungry and exciting talent in our Superleague squad this year and they proved today that they can perform on a big stage.”
Played in front of a packed Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday (October 13), the Championship featured five-a-side 12-minute matches, a five-point line and a Golden Buzzer Power Play as the top eight Netball Superleague teams battled it out for glory.
Stars took a new look team to the tournament, with Aussie Diamond, Ash Brazill, coming in as the team’s global All Star player to replace England International, Jodie Gibson, who is currently in Jamaica with the national team.
Stars were in a confident mood as they started their campaign against Strathclyde Sirens, who were bolstered by Kiwi All Star, Cat Tuivaiti. But it was Stars’ newcomer, England youth international Paige Reed, who stole the show consistently hitting triple point scores to leave Sirens trailing. The Stars’ defence of Phumza Maweni, Sam Cook and Hali Adio shut down Sirens’ options, leaving them scoreless in their power play. At the other end, new Welsh international signings, shooters Cara Lea Moseley and Georgia Rowe, also got themselves on the score sheet for the first time in Stars colours. The contest ended 15-4.
Next up for the Stars side was Surrey Storm, who had their own All Star in Aussie Diamond, Sharni Layton. Once again, Stars’ platform was built off a solid defence, which shut down the opposition, and a lightning fast attack through the midcourt through Stars’ Captain, Iona Darroch, and new signing, Lucy Harris. A bullet pass from Brazill, followed by quick thinking from goal attack Maryka Holtzhausen allowed Paige Reed to, once again, slot away a three pointer to the roars of the travelling support. With another stellar performance, Stars progressed to the semi-final with a 28-12 victory.
After a long, tense wait, Stars came back onto court for the second semi-final to face Benecos Mavericks for a place in the final. Mavericks started the stronger and took their power play early. Australian international goal shooter Karyn Bailey found her rhythm and began to confidently slot away five point goals for Mavericks that Stars could do nothing about. Down the other end, Stars’ shooting quartet, who had been so consistent in the first two rounds, just could not get the goals to fall, with Mavericks taking the win 38-8. They progressed on to the final, losing to Wasps Netball 42-32.
Reflecting on the tournament, Bird added: “I think it’s gone really well and I thought the squad were fantastic. We played really well in the first two games and unfortunately, in the semi-final, the shots just didn’t drop for us. To be fair to Mavs, they shot really well.”
Photo credit – Matchroom Multi Sport
Tickets for the upcoming season are available at www.severnstars.co.uk.
For all enquiries email email@example.com.