Celtic Dragons 49, Severn Stars 40
Severn Stars suffered defeat on the road, losing out 49-40 to Celtic Dragons.
The two sides were level in a tightly contested first half, with the lead continually switching hands, but in the third quarter the hosts carved out a decisive lead, from which Stars could not recover.
The defeat leaves Stars still searching for their first win in the Vitality Netball Superleague as they head to what Head Coach, Sam Bird, described as a “huge match” at Midlands rivals Wasps Netball tomorrow (Monday, March 12).
After a high tempo start to the game, at the Sports Wales National Centre, in Cardiff, Dragons’ free flowing attacking play allowed them to gain a 6-3 lead midway through the first quarter.
But despite a cagey start, the visitors recovered towards the end of the quarter with centre Laura Malcolm pulling the strings in the middle to allow goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell to find her range and help Stars edge 7-9 in front.
Dragons soon regained their momentum and a late surge allowed goal shooter Georgia Rowe to fire her side back level to end the first quarter at 11-11.
Stars came out flying in the second quarter and edged ahead, with two quick-fire goals from Cardwell allowing the visitors to restore their two-goal advantage.
But neither side could gain any momentum in a fiercely competitive second quarter which saw both sides continuously trading the lead, with Stars’ three-goal advantage midway through being the greatest lead in the scoring.
Dragons looked to be heading into the break a goal in front, but Cardwell was able to coolly net under pressure with just seconds remaining to send Stars into half-time level at 24-24.
But the home side eventually pulled away decisively six minutes into the third quarter, with Dragons’ lightning quick counter attacking allowing them to extent their lead to 35-31.
Stars struggled to deal with the hosts’ physicality and ability to move the ball forward at pace, with the Welsh side able to end the third quarter 38-33 in front.
Dragons carried their momentum into the final quarter with accurate shooting from goal attack Sarah Llewellyn and Rowe allowing the hosts to increase their lead to eight points.
A spirited Stars effort saw a late surge as Eleanor Cardwell switched to goal attack and was able to find her range from distance to help the visitors reduce the deficit to six goals.
But the hosts were able to regain control to comfortably see out the game.
Head coach Sam Bird admitted she was disappointed with her side’s performance.
“I think this defeat will hit hard,” she said.
“The players are going to have to reflect on their own performances today. They’re really disappointed.
“We’re able to play well for half the game, but when we get three or four in the ascendency we’re not disciplined to then push on.
“Every time we got a run of three or four, that would then be followed by three or four errors. We’re just not able to steal a march on these teams because of our own lack of discipline.
“It’s a huge game on Monday.”
Tickets for the next home game against Loughborough Lightning on Saturday (April 28) are available at www.severnstars.co.uk.
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