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Stars victorious over league leaders Thunder

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

Tickets are still available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Big Easter Weekend!

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

Image credit: Mark Pritchard

Severn Stars v Thunder 2 - clivejonespr.com

Any team can win on the day, says Stars’ Coach

Severn Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, has acknowledged that her team go into their match against top of the table Manchester Thunder as underdogs, but says any team on its day can triumph.

Her side come to the match at the Belle Vue Sports Village, in Manchester, on Saturday (April 13, 5pm) full of confidence following their first back-to-back wins of the season, against Celtic Dragons and Strathclyde Sirens.

“Manchester Thunder are performing well at the moment and are deservedly at the top of the table,” said Bird.  “We are underdogs for this match but, as we have already seen this season, any team on its day can take the win.  Historically we have always enjoyed our matches against them and we have run them close in previous occasions. We are looking forwards to taking them on at the weekend.”

Though Thunder came away the victors at the match at the University of Worcester Arena in February 49-62 and will be looking for a win to maintain their three point lead over Wasps, Bird said her players have been working hard to finish the last few games of the season on a high.

The training paid off last weekend when they delivered a 49-40 victory over Strathclyde Sirens at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena.  The team maintained a narrow lead throughout the match, then pulled away in the final quarter.  This followed a thrilling win against Celtic Dragons.  Five goals down with the final quarter to go, Stars staged a comeback with a nine goal run unanswered to lead the match at one point by four goals with four minutes to go.  They went on to take the win, 52-53.

“We have had back to back wins ourselves and the players are still keen to push on with stronger performances in the next phase of the season,” added Bird. “We have been focusing on our transition play and capitalising on scoring off ball we win.”

Tickets for the next Stars home game against Team Bath, at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena, on April 20 (6pm), are available at www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleague-severn-stars#bio.

Tickets are now available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Big Easter Weekend!

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!

Photo credit: Clive Jones

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Thunder, Lightning and Bath qualify for British Fast5 All-Stars

Manchester Thunder, Loughborough Lightning and Team Bath have all sealed their place at the 2019 British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship to join defending champions Wasps Netball at the Copper Box Arena, London on Saturday, October 12.

Four more teams will join the quartet in the £100,000 tournament, which returns for its third year in the autumn and will feature the top eight teams from the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague.

Superleague leaders Thunder defeated Strathclyde Sirens on Monday evening to ensure they cannot be edged out of the top eight this season. That win also meant qualification for Team Bath, while Loughborough Lightning beat Saracens Mavericks to guarantee a top-eight finish.

Mavericks themselves are just one win away from qualifying and will be confirmed for the Fast5 All-Stars should the beat London Pulse on Saturday.

Featuring 12-minute matches, an all-star 5-point line and a Golden Buzzer Power Play, the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship is an all-action afternoon of non-stop, pulsating netball.

Don’t miss out and get your tickets for the 2019 British Fast5 All-Stars Championship now!

The 2019 British Fast5 All-Stars Championship will take place 1-6pm on Saturday, October 12 at Copper Box Arena, London.

Sirens vs Thunder

Thunder overcome Sirens to return to the top of the table

A solid performance from Manchester Thunder who now sit back on top of the Vitality Netball Superleague after beating Strathclyde Sirens in Glasgow.

Thunder got off to a flying start and it was clear from the outset that it was going to be a tough ask for Glasgow-based Strathclyde Sirens to overcome the Black and Yellows.

Thunder established an early lead and managed to stretch it to ten goals at one point in the first quarter with star shooter Joyce Mvula shooting at 100%, bagging herself an impressive 14 of the 19 goals scored in the opening 15 minutes.

Sirens struggled to find their form and some poor shooting left ample opportunity for defenders Emma Dovey and Kerry Almond to punish their mistakes.  Thunder lacked pace at times but they had no problems in sending the ball to the other end of court, Mvula and Kathryn Turner only too happy to reward the efforts.

Thunder finished the first quarter nine goals to the good, an early lead which Sirens struggled to chase for the remainder of the match.

The second quarter saw much of the same, Thunder displayed snippets of brilliance as Dovey and Laura Malcolm were able to push up the court and create space and opportunity for the attackers.

Sirens looked unsettled and Thunder were taking advantage of every mistake they made.  But as the first half drew to a close the game began to get physical and Sirens forced the errors from Thunder.

The Black and Yellows took a 15 goal lead into half time, despite the fact that they seemed to have plenty left in the locker.  With the league so tight, it was the perfect chance to rack up some goals and cement their position at the top of the table.

The second half saw Head Coach Karen Greig ring in the changes and use Thunder’s advantage to try out some new combinations on court.

Eleanor Cardwell enjoyed a stint at GS as Rebekah Airey replaced Almond at the other end.  Amy Carter, who had an impressive performance against Wasps last week, made way for Caroline O’Hanlon at C.

Thunder blew out a 20 goal lead at one stage in the third quarter as Cardwell shot well under the post, controlling the circle well with the help of O’Hanlon and Player of the Match Liana Leota.

A few errors from Thunder at the end of the quarter saw Sirens scramble a flurry of goals but the 18 goal lead had become a mountain to climb for the Scottish side.

As the final 15 minutes rolled around it felt like Thunder had barely got out of third gear, not the Black and Yellow’s best performance, but the sign of a winning team.

Thunder perhaps would have liked to push a little bit harder in the closing stages of the game, but Greig saw the match as the ideal opportunity to showcase the talent on her bench.

Paige Kindred played a spell at GD, a chance for Captain Emma Dovey to rest.  Ally Thomas made her Superleague debut at GA and made an impression, grabbing herself a couple of goals.

Thunder showed their strength in depth, managing to get all 12 players out on court.  They were tenacious and, although not on their best form, it was almost a warning to the rest of the top four.  To win so comfortably, but without the intensity that we have seen at other stages in the season.

Their next home game is against Celtic Dragons on Saturday 6th April, grab your tickets here >> http://bit.ly/thuvcd

Starting 7s:

Manchester Thunder: Mvula, Turner, Leota, Carter, Malcolm, Dovey, Almond

Strathclyde Sirens: Goodwin, Gallagher, McCleary, Abernethy, Maxwell, Nicholl, Gibbons

Player of the Match: Liana Leota (Chosen by Sky)

Quarter-time Scores:

Q1: 10-19

Q2: 18-33

Q3: 28-46

Q4: 36-62

Tickets are now available for the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final!

Make sure you’re following the Vitality Netball Superleague on Twitter for the latest news and updates!