SEVERN Stars chief Sam Bird has said expectations are high among her squad as they make their final preparations for a third season in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
The Stars have been in impressive form in pre-season with victory in three of their four matches ahead of the season curtain raiser at the Birmingham Arena on Saturday (January 5)
Bird, who is returning for her second season at the helm, said: “I am pleased to have secured four pre-season matches against opposition that we will play in the league.
“We have played a number of combinations and have been able to integrate new players with existing players. Whilst we have performed well, all the squad have raised the bar in terms of expectations of ourselves and will be pushing harder in the New Year, motivated by the potential we have.”
An early pre-season run-out resulted in a victory over former Superleague champions Surrey Storm. Despite Stars missing several key players through international duty, injury and illness, Stars took the win 53-41 in Guildford.
Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, then came away with a 45-44 victory over Strathclyde Sirens at home in Worcester.
Bird’s charges were then at London’s Copper Box arena to complete pre-season matches with a tri-tournament against Celtic Dragons and London Pulse.
Despite missing captain Maryka Holtzhausen and experienced defenders Sam Cook and Jodie Gibson, Stars took a convincing win over Dragons 38-26.
Stars then took on the home side London Pulse in the decider. With standout performances from Welsh international Georgia Rowe, a tight game went goal for goal right up until the final whistle, with Pulse ultimately taking the game 33-31.
Stars kick off the new campaign this weekend when all 10 teams will be playing at the Birmingham Arena, with Stars set to face new club London Pulse.
The first home game will be at the University of Gloucestershire Arena against Celtic Dragons on January 25, with the first game at the University of Worcester Arena on February 9 against Manchester Thunder.
Visit www.severnstars.co.uk for more.