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Severn Stars’ Finals appearance a bittersweet way to bow out says Marshall

Credit: Getty Sport and Netball Super League

Gabby Marshall reflected on a ‘bittersweet’ Netball Super League Finals Day , which saw Severn Stars lose to London Pulse 52-48 in a thrilling bronze-medal match.

Stars came out of the blocks firing and were eight up in the second quarter but it was a lead which Pulse reduced to five at the halfway point before going on to win.

Sam Bird’s substitutions made a big impact to her Pulse side, notably Player of the Match Halimat Adio coming on to provide a solid performance at GK for the second half and get her team over the line.

But, for Marshall, this match was about more than just today as Severn Stars played their first ever Finals Day, but their last ever match as a franchise.

“It’s bittersweet,” Marshall said. “I am so proud of the girls because we’ve had our backs against the wall at times this season.

“But we’ve come out firing, made that top four and done things that no other Stars team has ever done.

“It’s disappointing because we had that bronze medal in our hands so it’s upsetting that we didn’t quite finish it off but I’m so proud of the team.

“We have to reflect on the bigger picture and we’ve done so well to be in this position.”

The Stars captain put her body on the line to keep the ball in in the first half as Stars played like a team with more finals experience than they had before Pulse’s previous Finals Day appearances helped them to pull away.

Marshall noted how her team has exceeded many expectations this season, and credited the support the team has shown to each other on and off the court.

She said: “At the start of the season, we probably weren’t in anyone’s top four but we were in our own.

“We’ve had an up and down season and then to handle the news that your club won’t be existing next season – I think we’ve handled it with grace, dignity and respect but still kept our eyes on the goal.

“There is so much uncertainty, so for the girls to handle that and keep our eye on the ball throughout the season has just been a credit to us. The best thing about this team is that we all support each other on and off the court.

“The last two months haven’t felt like real life. To be playing in a team that won’t be existing anymore but to make the top four – it’s quite a unique circumstance.”

In a first for Stars fans, they were able to experience an arena Finals Day, in their team’s final ever match.

“It’s huge,” Marshall added. “I speak about Severn Stars over the last two years because that’s what I’ve been a part of.

“But there are people who have been here from the beginning who have seen this franchise grow from something quite small to a team competing in the final four.

“I’m really proud of the journey and bringing finals netball to the fans.”

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