SEVERN Stars head coach Sam Bird is already looking forward to next season after her side brought the curtain down on a successful season with a comfortable 65-42 slaying of Celtic Dragons.
The respected coach praised her side for yet another ruthless display at the University of Worcester Arena on Monday evening and reflected on her first season in charge.
Bird hopes the ideas implemented during a Vitality Netball Superleague season which saw the Stars secured a creditable sixth spot will be carried over into the new campaign early next year.
“We wish we had a couple more fixtures to go because we’ve just got better and better since the Commonwealth Games break. I’m fairly convinced we’d be up there challenging with the best,” she said.
“The players have been very proud to represent the club and taken on board the ideas we’ve tried to put forward and it’s paying off.
“We just have to try to carry this over to next year.”
Stars made it five straight home wins with a commanding performance which once again saw them record a victory margin of more than 20 points.
Stars had to be patient in a cagey opening quarter but they eventually carved out a 10-5 lead midway through the opening 15 minutes.
A valiant Dragons side did not make it easy for the hosts though, with wing attack Kyra Jones dictating the play for much of the remaining five minutes, allowing goal shooter Georgia Rowe to help the visitors surge from behind to level the game at 12-12.
Stars rallied as goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell’s commanding performance in the attacking third saw them regain the lead and finish the quarter 18-13 ahead.
The hosts carried the momentum into the second quarter, dominating for the majority as their clever play in the attacking third helped provide Cardwell with the ammunition she needed to build a commanding 34-21 advantage at half-time.
Stars maintained their 13-goal advantage for much of the third quarter and continued to control the game.
They repeatedly carved through their opponents in the final third with the creativity of wing attack Iona Darroch and goal attack Maryka Holtzhausen causing problems and ended the third quarter 51-32 in front.
Sophie Carter came on at centre and Rosie Allison at goal shooter as Stars rang the changes in the final quarter.
The hosts continued to have the upper hand with their incisive play and finished with a huge victory.
“It was a fabulous performance from the squad,” Bird added.
“We’re getting used to winning by over 20 goals. It’s a nice feeling.”