Severn Stars took three points from table toppers Manchester Thunder in a continuation of a rollercoaster Vitality Netball Superleague season. An all-round composed performance from the whole squad saw them earn the away victory at the Belle Vue Sports Village.
Head Coach, Sam Bird, praised her players on their current form, “A super third win in a row for the squad. I’m particularly proud of the performance as beating Thunder in Manchester is always a challenge, but the squad executed the game plan to the best of their ability and it paid off.”
After winning against Dragons and Sirens in recent matches, Stars travelled to Manchester on Saturday, April 13th determined to keep their run of wins. They came out firing in the first quarter with familiar turnovers from Sam Cook and Jodi-Ann Ward converted by Georgia Rowe. Stars took a small lead of two goals, but this was quickly reversed by top of the table Thunder converting three in a row to end the first quarter 13-11.
Lucy Harris moved to centre and Iona Darroch to wing attack into the second quarter, but Stars started poorly and went down by five goals early on with the score at 19-14. More turnovers from the Stars defensive unit, incredible spring from Ward and repeated shooter contact on Cook meant that Stars went on a scoring streak, taking the lead to 19-20 with seven consecutive goals against the home side.
Despite changes in the Thunder circle Stars took a convincing lead, 21-25.
Thunder made several substitutions going into the third quarter and Stars kept their format, extending their lead to 28-33. The away side lost their flow and brought on Shona O’Dwyer at wing attack, moving Darroch to back centre but Thunder didn’t miss their chances and the score was neck and neck at 36 all.
With a huge 15 minutes to play for both sides Harris came back to the court at wing attack and Thunder took the lead for the first time since the second quarter, 37-36. After thrilling end to end netball it was down to Stars to stay composed, protect the ball and convert their chances. They did just that and with more spectacular turnovers from Cook, Stars earnt the 47-50 victory.
Sam Bird said, “We knew we had to disrupt Thunder’s rhythm and isolate key players and we did that well. A good day for the club and we look to continue to work hard this week as we approach the double header weekend.”
Stars next face Team Bath on Saturday, April 20 (6pm) at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena. Tickets are sold out, however tickets are available for their last home game of the season versus Wasps on Saturday, 4th May (6pm) at the University of Worcester at www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleague-severn-stars#bio
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Image credit: Mark Pritchard