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Vitality Netball Super League

Severn Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, is determined to ensure her team continue in the positive vein of form they were in when they got their first league win in March.

After more than a month without a match, thanks to a mid-season break for the Commonwealth Games, the Vitality Netball Superleague resumes with Stars travelling north to face Team Northumbria at the Sport Central arena, in Newcastle, this Saturday (April 21, 6pm).

They finished off the first half of the season with an impressive 66-46 away victory against UWS Sirens, their first win of the campaign, having lost by just one goal in the dying seconds on two other agonising occasions.

“It is part of my role to ensure the squad comes together again quickly to repeat the level of performance we did against Sirens,” said Bird. “We are back to business and want to start where we left off, with a convincing strong performance.”

Stars will be hoping to take some inspiration from their returning international players, South Africans Phumza Maweni and Maryka Holtzhausen, and in particular England Roses player Jodie Gibson, whose gold medal, Bird said, had given the squad a boost.

Gibson was part of the squad that triumphed against tournament favourites Australia in a thrilling match on Monday.

“The team have been training well during the break,” said Bird. “We have had a short rest and then resumed training, including friendly matches as part of our preparations for this phase of Superleague season.

“It was great to beat Sirens so convincingly before the break, and the 20 goal win was a result of the hard work we had put in.  The players always knew that they could perform well, but it was good to see it all come together to give that extra belief in what we can do.”

Bird said they were looking forward to the match, but acknowledged the side faced some challenges.

“The travel is always a challenge and made harder still this week as three of our 12 have just returned from Commonwealth Games duties in Australia. But Jodie Gibson winning gold for England is a great boost to our squad and we are all delighted for her.”

Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, follow the Northumbria match with a home game against Loughborough Lightning, at the University of Worcester Arena, on April 28 at 6pm.

For tickets visit www.severnstars.co.uk.

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