SEVERN Stars defeated Wasps Netball in a thrilling last quarter, with a late nine-goal run proving 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 59-54, 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 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.”
Wasps took an early lead, 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.
Bethan Dyke replaced Lucy Harris in a quick change for Stars and they soon levelled the match. Stars’ defensive wall, made up of Towera Vinkhumbo, Ella Powell-Davies and Nia Jones, forced Wasps into some errors and the quarter ended with Stars 16-14 ahead.
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 chance 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 Wasps 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 led to them finishing 59-54 winners.
Bessell added: “It was vitally important we kept possession of our centre pass. Everyone had to do their job and that’s exactly what everyone did. It was the 10 players who won it, not just the seven on court.”
Stars now face a period of inaction after netball chiefs confirmed the Superleague season would be suspended as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.