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Monday Night Netball: Severn Stars vs Celtic Dragons – In Focus

Severn Stars host Celtic Dragons on Monday night. Image: Gareth Everett

Attention switches from the top of the Vitality Netball Superleague table to the bottom as Severn Stars and Celtic Dragons go head-to-head in Worcester, desperate to halt their losing runs.

Three points separate the pair at the foot of the table and with just one win between them so far this season it promises to be a fiercely contested affair.

Tickets are available for the game at the University of Worcester Arena here

Stars won their first game of the season against Surrey but it’s been five defeats since then, while a new look Dragons team have lost each of their first six games and are without a win since last April.

It’s a second game in three days for Stars who were heavily beaten at London Pulse on Saturday, while Dragons have had a week to prepare.

Coverage is available on Sky Sports Mix and Arena and gets underway with build-up and analysis at 5pm with Tracey Neville the studio guest alongside Di Dougherty.

First centre pass is at 5.30pm with Caroline Barker and Ama Agbeze described the action and if you miss the game, highlights are available via the VNSL YouTube channel here.

Head to Head

Played – 8; Severn Stars – 7; Celtic Dragons

Stars couldn’t have picked better opponents as they look to half their losing run, they have won seven of their eight games against Dragons since joining the league in 2017.

Both of last season’s matches were played behind closed doors but resulted in wins for Stars  who finished 9th to Dragon’s 11th.

In fact it is five successive wins for Stars since Dragons only victory which came back in March 2018 at the Sport Wales National Centre courtesy of a 49-40 success.

The away team have won only won twice, and on both occasions it was Stars who claimed the victory, while for tonight’s hosts it’s a perfect three wins from three home meetings – two of those successes coming at tonight’s venue – the University of Worcester Arena.

Last season’s meetings

Severn Stars 47-35 Celtic Dragons – April 2021

Celtic Dragons 39-45 Severn Stars – June 2021

The Story So Far…

It doesn’t make good reading for either team who’ll see Monday night’s showdown as the ideal chance to make a welcome return to winning ways.

Stars produced an eye-catching win over Surrey Storm on Saturday at Season Opener and followed up by impressing in defeat to a Manchester Thunder that have set a blistering pace this season.

Since then it has been defeats to Wasps, Saracens Mavericks, Team Bath and Pulse – with three of those losses coming at home. A narrow defeat to last year’s runners-up Bath in Round 4 has shown Melissa Bessell what might be possible.

Stars major issue would appear to be be finding a settled team. Four different players have started in the goal shooter bib in the last four games, while at goal keeper Summer Artman and Lucy Herdman each have three starts.

For Dragons, a new head coach and a host of new players can part explain their start to the season with five defeats following on from season’s hugely disappointing campaign where they won just once.

Having started with defeat to Manchester Thunder at Season Opener, Dragons pushed Saracens Mavericks in a close contest on day two in Birmingham.

Defeat to Loughborough Lightning was followed by 57-52 reverse to Leeds Rhinos on their return to Cardiff, a storming final quarter offering a glimpse of what Danni Titmuss-Morris wants from her squad.

A heavy loss to Pulse last time out was perhaps their most disappointing display of the season, but in contrast to Stars much-changed line-up, Dragons have started the same seven for all five games so far as they seek a first win since last April.

Current Form

Severn Stars – W L L L L L

Celtic Dragons – L L L L L 

Key Match-Up

Scoring goals hasn’t been too much of an issue for Dragons, with the attacking unit of Georgia Rowe and Lefebre Rademan getting better and better as the season has gone on.

How they they far against the Stars defensive end may well shape then game.

Iman Thomas, Lucy Herdman, Summer Artman and Dee Bolakoro have been chopped and changed across the season with Stars using four different defensive combinations in their six games.

The consistency of Dragons selection has allowed Rowe and Rademan to gel nicely with Rowe shooting at 94% and Rademan’s movement drawing praise from Tamsin Greenway in the most recent episode of Off the Court.

With Stars still searching for the right combinations across the court, it may well be that familiarity gives the visitors an advantage.

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