Severn Stars were unable to make it two wins in two over the weekend as they fell to defeat against second placed Team Bath, 30-49 in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
The University of Gloucestershire and Worcester Stars went into the match against their south west rivals, at Studio 001 in Wakefield on Saturday, off the back of the team’s first victory of the season.
The day before falling to a fifth defeat of the league season, Melissa Bessell’s side overcame Surrey Storm 49-46 on Friday, but after finding themselves behind by six goals after the first 12 minutes against Surrey, Stars were unable to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this campaign.
Although Stars pushed Bath the whole game, the side ultimately extended its advantage as the match continued for a win that takes it level on points with the League leaders.
Team Bath came into the match after defeating reigning champions Manchester Thunder 60-35, but it was Stars who had the first steal with a held ball at the circle edge.
However, with missed shots from both Georgia Rowe and Paige Reed, Stars didn’t gain the start they deserved. It took time for both teams to settle, with turnovers throughout the court for both sides.
Friday’s match saw Stars have success in taking centre pass to goal, but, due to the pressure from internationals Serena Guthrie, Imogen Allison and U21 Tash Pavelin, they struggled to convert, with three continuous unsuccessful centre passes.
A swing ball across the circle was picked up by Bath’s Eboni Usoro-Brown, but due to the pressure applied by Stars, Bath ran out of time and the quarter ended 10-4 to Bath.
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In the second quarter Stars’ defence continued to dominate with crucial interceptions from goal keeper Lucy Herdman, but it was a quarter dictated by the defence of both sides, with momentum swinging both ways.
Jane Taylor entered the game to provide another option for Stars against a strong Bath side, but Bath stepped up and started to pull away.
Lucy Harris re-entered the game at centre after coming off for an injury and made a lovely pick up with 30 seconds to go, but unfortunately Stars could not convert, ending the half 24-10 behind.
Changes were made by both sides at the interval. Abi Robson and Layla Guscoth came on for Bath and for Stars, Iman Thomas moved to goal defence, Paige Reed came on at goal attack and Nia Jones was back to her favoured position of wing defence.
Stars continued to disrupt Bath’s game, but they pulled away further, outscoring Stars 12-8 in the quarter and leading 36-18.
Bessell’s team made a great start in the final quarter, with another three second held ball thanks to the tight marking in the circle. Bath changes in the centre court brought quicker movement and connection into the circle.
As time progressed, Stars continued to disrupt the Bath centre pass, challenging their first phase and being very close to a number of held balls.
Bethan Dyke had a standout performance again for the home team, with her continued speed on court and clever feeds in the circle, which contributed to a closer final quarter, lost by only one goal, with the match ending 49-30 to Bath.
Stars player, Lucy Harris, said: “We are really pleased with our performance today. We pushed Bath all the way to the final quarter. We just need to work on our consistency for all four quarters as we know that we can go goal for goal against these top teams.
“We made a number of turnovers; we just need to convert them to goals. We are really looking forward to the next few matches. We are confident and we have been working on our connections, so now we just need to push on.”
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, takes on Leeds Rhinos on Monday, March 22, at 7.15pm.