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Wasps earn West Midlands bragging rights

Wasps Netball claimed the early-season West Midlands bragging rights with a hardfought 52-64 away victory over Worcester-based Severn Stars.

Tamsin Greenway’s team made the short trip down the M5 full of confidence after their opening day victory over Surrey Storm, and the same starting line-up continued Wasps’ bright start to the Vitality Netball Superleague season.

The visitors opened up a six-point lead on their hosts in the first quarter, and after hard-fought second and third quarters, during which there was nothing between the teams, the black-and-golds pulled away in the closing stages.

While not being totally happy with all of her team’s performance, Director of Netball Greenway was pleased with the way Wasps battled their way to a win.

“Stars really battled hard and I was pleased with the impact our bench changes made in the attack end, and it was good to get Hannah Reid out there to show what she can do,” Greenway said.

“We started well although we let ourselves down a bit in the second quarter and had to grind it out a bit when the frustration started to grow.

“The Surrey Storm game was easier than we anticipated last week, but we knew tonight would be tough as Stars will be pushing for the top four, and it was.

“So I’m really pleased with the win, and now we’ll need to turn things round quickly for Thursday night against Sirens. There were some tired legs out there by the end, so we’ll need to take a look at training to make sure we’re ready.”

Wasps started the game at the University of Worcester Arena brightly, with Rachel Dunn helping to finish off some key mid-court interceptions from Jade Clarke and Natalie Haythonthwaite to swing the score in their favour.

Dunn highlighted her class at the end of the first quarter with a spectacular leap for the ball, before her composed footwork saw her score to send Wasps in to the second quarter with a 10-16 advantage.

Stars shooters Maryka Holtzhausen and Eleanor Cardwell tried to rally their side with some clinical finishing in the second quarter, but it wasn’t enough to stop Wasps maintaining a healthy 25-32 half time lead.

An evenly-matched third quarter saw Greenway replace George Fisher in a bid to help her side stretch their lead, while goal keeper Josie Huckle also entered into the fray, replacing Sam May.

The third period saw both teams score 16 points apiece as both sets of shooters capitalised on misplaced passes, with the game perfectly poised heading into the final quarter at 41-48.

Wasps introduced England Under 21 captain Fran Williams for the final quarter to support Amy Flanagan’s solid defensive display.

Greenway’s side scored three quick goals after the restart to extend their lead to 41- 51.

The experienced attacking trio of Greenway, Dunn and Haythonthwaite never looked back after that, as they went on to score 13 more points to run out 52-64 winners.

Wasps Netball return to the Ericsson Indoor Arena on Thursday February 22 to face Sirens (7.00pm centre-pass).

Tickets for Wasps Netball vs Sirens are available from www.waspsnetball.co.uk/tickets

Player of the match: Amy Flanagan

Q1: 10-16

Q2: 25-32

Q3 41-48

Q4: 52-64

Wasps starting seven: GK Sam May; GD Hannah Reid; WD Amy Flanagan; C Jade Clarke; WA Natalie Haythornthwaite; GA Rachel Dunn; GS George Fisher

Used substitutes: Fran Williams (GD); Josie Huckle (GK); Tamsin Greenway (WA)

Severn Stars starting seven: GK Phumza Maweni; GD Samantha Cook; WD Jodie Gibson; C Laura Malcolm; WA Sophie Carter; GA Maryka Holtzhausen; GS Eleanor Cardwell