Wasps Netball made it seven successive wins to start the season despite being without two of their star players against Severn Stars.
Tamsin Greenway’s team ran out 54-43 winners in a hard fought game against their West Midlands rivals.
It was Wasps’ first game without Natalie Haythornthwaite and Jade Clarke, who have travelled with England Roses to compete at the Commonwealth Games.
Wasps’ netball director Greenway praised her team’s character to come through a tough game without two of their starting seven.
“It wasn’t pretty tonight, but a win is a win,” Greenway said.
“It felt like everything was going against us at times tonight, mostly of our own doing but to get the win in those circumstances is still great.
“Of course we missed Natalie and Jade. They are both world class, but we prepared for that and I don’t think there’s many teams in this league that could lose two starting players and still perform like that.
“The opposition defended very well, we didn’t have it all our own way. We got the early lead, but we let them back in and it got a bit edgy, but we pulled through.”
Wasps Netball opened the game with a flying interception from Sophia Candappa, setting the tone for what would be a hotly contested first quarter.
Stars matched Wasps’ intensity in the opening stages, defending physically in the circle to deny George Fisher, who was forced to utilise her long-range shooting skills to score.
Sloppy attacking play plagued both sides, with Sam May disrupting Stars’ Eleanor Cardwell at the opposite end – just as Rachel Dunn found her form, stretching Wasps to an eight goal lead.
Wasps goal keeper Sam May’s defensive work continued to trouble Stars’ shooters in the second quarter, with Phumza Maweni proving equally disruptive for Stars.
Greenway orchestrated Wasps’ attacking play in her first start of the season, feeding Fisher and Dunn. Stars surged back at the close of the half, limiting Wasps’ advantage to nine.
Stars started the third quarter strongly, bringing on Rosalie Allison at goal shooter and continuing to make inroads into Wasps’ lead.
Wasps’ shooters struggled throughout the quarter, with Stars’ defensive work bringing them within six to start the final quarter.
Sophia Candappa was re-introduced to the action, after being substituted at half-time, to help stem the tide and win the mid-court battle for Wasps.
It was a tense final quarter, as Stars threatened to close the gap, but Fisher re-found her shooting touch to keep the visitors chasing, scoring clutch shots in the final minutes to secure a 54-43 win.
Wasps’ next home fixture sees them face Celtic Dragons on Sunday, March 18 (6.00pm centre-pass).
Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Celtic Dragons on March 18 are available from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets.
Player of the match: Tamsin Greenway
Wasps starting seven: GK Sam May; GD Hannah Reid; WD Amy Flanagan; C Sophia Candappa; WA Tamsin Greenway; GA Rachel Dunn; GS George Fisher
Used Substitutes: Fran Williams (GD)
Stars starting seven: GK Phumza Maweni; GD Samantha Cook; WD Dominique Ford-Gordon; C Laura Malcolm; WA Maryka Holtzhauzen; GA Amanda Davis; GS Eleanor Cardwell
Used substitutes: Rosalie Allison (GS) Oatley (WD)