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Severn Stars shock Wasps to secure first win of the season

Severn Stars defeated Wasps Netball in a thrilling last quarter, turning the match around with a nine-goal run that proved crucial.

The team got their first win of the 2020 Vitality Netball Superleague season in style, coming back from five goals down with 15 minutes to go to win 54-59, at the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday (March 14).

“Today’s game was epic for us,” said Stars’ Head Coach, Melissa Bessell. “I made it clear today it was a win we needed and a win that I wanted. It was neck and neck all the way through and I am super proud of everyone in the last quarter – we won that by 20 goals to 10.”

It was Wasps who took an early lead in the local derby, thanks to mid-courter Amy Flanagan, but Stars were soon back on track after both their shooters made clean intercepts from Wasps’ defence to convert their own goals. A quick change from Stars saw Bethan Dyke replace Lucy Harris and Stars had quickly pulled back the score to level the match. Stars’ defensive wall, which was made up of Towera Vinkhumbo, Ella Powell-Davies and Nia Jones, forced Wasps into some errors and the quarter ended with Stars with a narrow 16-14 lead.

Both teams went goal for goal throughout the 15 minutes of the next quarter, finding their respective shooters in the circle and converting goals for their sides. However, a missed goal from Stars led to England International Fran Williams getting the rebound and sending the ball down court to shooter Rachel Dunn to finish the quarter, with Stars just in front, 29-28.

Bessell brought in Ama Agbeze for Powell-Davies at the half-time interval, but it was Stars’ goal keeper, Vinkhumbo, who was quick to make her mark with Wasps’ goal shooter getting the contact call. Stars transitioned well down court and were able find Rowe under the post. Neither sides continued to let anything go throughout much of the third quarter, but eventually it was Wasps who came up with some answers to Stars’ play, finding turnovers to take the lead, 39-44.

It was neck and neck in the opening minutes of the final quarter, but Stars’ defensive hard work paid off, with Vinkhumbo and Agbeze getting turnovers that were converted to goals for their side. Stars went from being four goals down with nine minutes to go to being three goals up. A run of nine straight goals from Stars saw them out to eventual winners, 59-54.

Bessell added: “It was vitally important we kept possession of our centre pass. Everyone had to do their job today and that’s exactly what everyone did.  We won this game today and it was the 10 players who won it, not just the seven on court.”

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