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Severn Stars Player Announces Her Retirement

Severn Stars defender, Becky Oatley, has announced her retirement from professional netball.

Becky was involved in Stars’ 65-42 winning performance against Celtic Dragons, which brought the team’s Vitality Netball Superleague season to a close on Monday (June 25).

“Monday’s game was very emotional for me in so many ways,” said Becky.  “I felt like I wanted to finish on a high and the time just felt right for me to pass on the playing baton to the young talent we have in our squad.  Mentally and physically, it has been a tough year for me as I have had ongoing struggles with the ankle injury I suffered before the season started.”

The 33-year-old, of Worcester, has played for the Club for the last two seasons, but also has three caps for Wales, which included representing her country at Netball Europe 2016.

“I have been so proud to play for Stars and be a tiny part of their history and will of course miss the wonderful support of my teammates, coaches and of course, the fans,” she said.  “I am thankful to every person I have met along my netball journey.  I have made some incredible friendships, met some inspiring people and been humbled by the support I have received.

“As a little girl, I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to play in front of crowds of people, in arenas, live on national TV, and I have savoured every experience, leave with my head held high and with memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.  It has been an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, but one in which I have learnt so many lessons about myself.”

Becky moved from Corsham, Wiltshire, where she grew up, to Cardiff 15 years ago and played for Cardiff University while studying there. She also played in the Welsh leagues for Leckwith, Treharris and Cowbridge and went on to play a season for Superleague side Celtic Dragons.

She was one of Stars’ first signings when the Club, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, was formed in 2016.

She combined playing alongside her PhD studies with the Association of Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester, which she will continue.  Her research looks at the experiences and sporting memories of women living with dementia.  Becky said she would also continue to campaign on the stigma around mental health and discrimination faced by those with mental health conditions.

Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, said: “I have loved working with Becc over the last two years. She has put in so many fine performances on court for Stars over our first two seasons.  Becc has also contributed to developing the positive culture in our squad in that she is hard working, kind, a truly professional athlete and a great team player.  We have been lucky to have Becc for our first two years as a club and we are working with Becc to look to keep her with the club in another role.  I know Becc loves her cycling so she will have more time to follow that passion, but we hope that our fans will continue to see Becc with our club next season.”

Image credit: Lindsey Dowthwaite

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Severn Stars celebrate end of season with awards

Severn Stars celebrated the end of a successful season at their inaugural presentation evening.

Hosted by CCR Motor Co. Cheltenham & Gloucester, Stars welcomed guests including players, friends and family, volunteers and representatives from various sponsors.

Coaches for the Under 19, Under 21 and Vitality Netball Superleague squads spoke about their season before awards were handed out to players from each squad.

Severn Stars Vitality Netball Superleague Club is a joint collaboration between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire.

Anita Navin, Severn Stars’ Director of Netball, said: “The success of our age group squads and the Vitality Netball Superleague squad finishing sixth with an amazing run of five home wins in a row means the world as we continue to achieve our goals as a Vitality Netball Superleague club.

“Seeing so many of our academy and National Performance League players at the event proves the impact we are having on the future generation of netball.

“I must thank all of our volunteers, coaching and support staff as well as our strong teams of support at the University of Gloucestershire and University of Worcester. We now start planning for season three.”

 

Under 19s:

Player of the Season: Chloe Carchrie

Sponsored by Gloucestershire County Netball Association

Player’s Player: Olivia Jones

Sponsored by Gloucestershire County Netball Association

Most Improved Player: Thalia Letori

Sponsored by Gloucestershire County Netball Association

 

Under 21s:

Player of the Season: Shona O’Dwyer

Sponsored by Hucclecote Netball Club

Player’s Player: Ella Powell-Davies

Sponsored by Anita Navin

Most Improved Player: Emma Johnson

Sponsored by Kerry Bannister

 

Vitality Netball Superleague:

Player of the Season: Maryka Holtzhausen

Sponsored by Denise Egan

Player’s Player: Phumza Maweni

Sponsored by GS Consultancy

Supporter’s Player: Samantha Cook

Sponsored by Arctic Spas

 

Severn Stars Unsung Hero Award: Bruce McLaren

Sponsored by a Severn Stars Supporter

 

Nova Award – Outstanding Contribution and Development: Rudee Robinson

Sponsored by Jane Powell

 

Image credit: Lindsey Dowthwaite Photography

Lindsey Dowthwaite Photography

Stars set sights on fifth consecutive home win

Severn Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, is hoping her team can make it five wins in a row at home in their last game of the season.

Stars’ recent positive form has seen them win four home games in a row, including the largest winning margin in the club’s history last weekend against Team Northumbria.

Now Bird is keen to see a fifth against Celtic Dragons at the University of Worcester Arena on Monday (June 25, 7.30pm), to close out the season on a positive note for their fans.

“We are really keen to obviously give our fans a great performance in our last home game,” she said. “We love playing at home. We like to be able to prepare and we’re really looking forward to it. It’s really important that we go out and perform how we can to just round everything up. It’s the last chance for the players to play this season and will be an emotional day for me as I’m so proud of how far the squad has come.

“Our fans have been fantastic this season, sticking with the team despite some tough losses earlier in the campaign, and it is great that we have been able to repay their loyalty and enthusiasm with some winning performances as the season draws to a close.”

Last Saturday (June 16) saw the team defeat Team Northumbria by 30 goals, 63-33.  Bird said she believed such a result showed the team’s progress over the course of the season.

“For us we could do with a couple more fixtures really and I think we’d be up there challenging,” she said. “Not even teams at the top are necessarily winning by these massive margins. It shows where we want to be and how to push on for next year.”

Bird added that, despite their winning form, Stars were prepared for a tough test against Welsh side Dragons.

“Dragons are a competitive and physical team,” she said. “They are truly passionate and are always a determined and challenging team to compete with.”

Image credit: Lindsey Dowthwaite Photography

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Stars looking to end season on a high

Severn Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, says she wants her team to end the season on a high with their final three back-to-back home games and show their fans how much they have progressed as a side.

Stars face UWS Sirens, a team they defeated away from home 66-46 earlier in the season, at the University of Worcester Arena, on Monday (June 11) in the first of the three home fixtures to close out their Vitality Netball Superleague campaign.

Bird said this end to the season was a chance to consolidate Stars’ position in the table and said the crowd would play their part in bringing about results.

“I want the team to put out some very good performances up to the end of the season,” she said.

“It’s lovely to have three back-to-back games at home. We have obviously been on the road a lot so it’s nice to get to play at our Arena and have our home crowd and really make it a difficult place for the opposition to come.”

She said it was important to strengthen Stars’ position in the table towards the end of the campaign.

“We have been playing so well so we expect to challenge in every match,” she said. “We’re very positive going into the remaining three games. They’re all at home so it will be great to have a home crowd and we’re looking to showing everyone how much we’ve improved. 

“It’s fair to say Sirens have improved as well since we last played them.  We won’t be underestimating them; they have put in a couple of good performances recently as well, but we’re looking forward to playing them at home.”

Stars’ Captain, Laura Malcolm, added: “We want to finish as high as we can on the table so we want to make sure we secure every win that we can and control what’s in our control.

“Sirens will be another tough game, both teams want to get points on the board so I think it will be very competitive, but we’re up for the challenge.”

For tickets to the match against UWS Sirens visit www.severnstars.co.uk.

The race to reach the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final is heating up – don’t miss out on the season-ending spectacular and get your tickets now!

Photo credit: Razorlight Imagery