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Severn Stars feel Wasps’ sting

Severn Stars 44 65 Wasps Netball

 Severn Stars felt the Wasps’ sting in a loss to fellow newcomers Wasps Netball.

Stars were pushed to the limit in the Midlands derby by an energetic Wasps team, who dominated from the start, opening up an early lead.

Though Stars stemmed the flow in the second and fourth quarters, matching the visitors, Wasps extended their lead to take a 44-65 win in the fifth round of the Vitality Netball Superleague, at the University of Worcester Arena.

Head coach, Mo’onia Gerrard, put out a changed squad, which saw a reshuffle in the midcourt and a return from injury for England international Jodie Gibson.

Stars Captain, Laura Malcolm, missed the match after sustaining an injury in last week’s game against Team Bath. Even with a reshuffle in the centre court, the Stars missed Malcolm’s presence.

Stars looked sluggish early on in the first quarter, allowing Wasps to take a five goal lead.  Looking to find a foothold in the game, Stars’ dynamic goalkeeper, Gibson, made a flying intercept to prevent the Wasps shooters from extending their lead.

Great defensive work by Stars allowed shooting duo, Afeisha Noel and Eleanor Cardwell, to build on the Stars’ tally late in the first quarter, finishing it at 7-20.

Stars started the second quarter brightly with Cardwell scoring two in quick succession to reduce the gap. The visitors made it hard to transition into attack but smart play by centre, Iona Darroch, into the shooters helped Stars find their rhythm and match Wasps in the second quarter, with the half-time score 21-35.

Stars looked to build on their stronger second quarter to reduce the 14 goal deficit going into the third but Wasps caught Stars on the back foot, with shooters Rachel Dunn and Natalie Haythornewaite scoring 3 goals early on.

Defensive duo, Rebecca Oatley and Josie Janz-Dawson applied pressure to the Wasps’ attack, which allowed Stars to stem the flow and prevent Wasps from extending their lead further, ending the third quarter 31-51.

With such a significant deficit going into the fourth quarter, Stars were left with a lot to do to take home the win. Stars changed the on-court dynamic bringing in defender Rachel Sweet and shooters Yasmin Hodge-England and Rebecca Tildesley.

The team put on a spirited display in the final quarter but the deficit was too much to overcome after a clinical, consistent display from a strong Wasps side, with the match finishing 44-65 to Wasps.

Tonight’s Captain, Josie Janz-Dawson, said: “We had a good second and fourth quarter.  We got blown out of the water in the first and third.  Not having our Captain, Laura Malcolm, in the mix was hard.

“We’ve had Jodie Gibson come back in at defence and it’s now how we work Jodie into the combinations as she is a dynamic player.  We’ve got a real mix of what we can put on court.  It’s just finding the right combination to counteract the teams that we are coming up against next.

“It is always hard coming off a loss like this.  We can go a whole season and think what if, or we can really start becoming competitive and play the brand of netball that we know we can play and really reduce those errors.”

Tickets for the Severn Stars’ next game at home to Scottish Sirens (Monday 27 March) are available at www.severnstars.co.uk/fixturetickets