Severn Stars 52, Wasps Netball 64
It was a frustrating evening for Severn Stars as they lost out to their Midland rivals Wasps Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Despite another positive performance by the home side in front of another bumper crowd at the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday (February 17), reigning Superleague champions Wasps came away with the win 52-64.
They dominated much of the first quarter, building a decisive advantage from which Stars were unable to recover despite strong second and third quarters. Wasps enjoyed the better of the opening stages and raced to a 3-8 lead after five minutes courtesy of goal shooter Georgie Fisher’s sharp shooting.
Stars found a foothold in the game midway through the quarter, with South African international goal attack Markya Holtzhausen’s incisive pass finding goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell, who finished under pressure before netting again to make it 7-10.
Cardwell was involved again moments later, bagging the pick of the goals in a lively first quarter when sinking a looping shot from distance, much to the delight of the home crowd.
But some scintillating attacking play from the away team ensured Wasps ended with a commanding 10-17 first quarter lead.
Stars came out flying in the second quarter, with wing attack Sophie Carter’s defence-splitting pass five minutes into the second quarter allowing Cardwell to net as the hosts grabbed six goals without reply to reduce the deficit.
Cardwell continued her impressive second quarter with consecutive goals from distance as Stars battled to keep pace with the reigning champions, bringing the score to within six points with a minute remaining of the half.
But despite a draw in a much improved second quarter from the hosts, Stars headed into half-time trailing 25-32.
A tactical reshuffle from Wasps saw the introduction of Head Coach Tamsin Greenway at wing attack and Josie Huckle at goal keeper as the visitors looked to maintain their advantage in the third quarter.
Stars showed glimpses of brilliance, as South African international goal keeper Phumza Maweni’s defensive rebound set up a swift Stars counter attack with some clever passing eventually allowing Cardwell to net.
Maweni was involved again moments later as her flying interception allowed Stars to build a clever move from which the in-form Cardwell scored.
But Wasps continued to hold Stars at bay, with a 41-48 scoreline at the end of the third quarter.
A cagey start to the final quarter from Stars allowed the visitors to increase their lead to 10 points after just two minutes of the restart.
But Stars rallied, with Player of the Match Cardwell able to find space behind a stubborn Wasps defence to bring the score back to within eight points.
But the visitors were able to hold out for the win.
Sam Bird, Stars’ Head Coach, said she was happy with her team’s overall performance despite the defeat.
“In the first quarter we showed Wasps too much respect,” she said. “We had a new attacking line up and I think that showed a little bit and there were a few nerves on court.
“But we drew both the second and third quarters, and they were really high quality quarters from us, and that just shows what we can deliver.
“We’ve played last year’s champions and I think we’ve given them a lot to think about and they had to work hard for that win. I want more, but I’m happy with that performance.”
Tickets for the next home game against Team Bath on February 26 (7.30pm) are available here
Image credit Matt Falla at Rockpool Photography