NETBALL: Jo returns from year out to take a Star role - The Worcester Observer

NETBALL: Jo returns from year out to take a Star role

Worcester Editorial 17th Feb, 2023   0

NEW-LOOK Severn Stars will seek to get their home campaign off to a flier after soaring to victory on the opening weekend of the 2023 Netball Superleague season.

Strathclyde Sirens are the visitors to the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday (February 18) to face a Stars side which defeated (February 11) Saracens Mavericks 59-55 last Saturday before a 76-51 reverse at Surrey Storm on Monday evening.

Although the Hertfordshire-based side Saracens made the better start and took an early lead, Stars came flying out of the blocks in the second quarter to get back into contention and eventually carved out a significant lead in the third.

A resolute defence and formidable attack meant the University of Worcester-owned franchise took all three points at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham against the Mavericks. It was an ominous start to the match from Stars, conceding an early double, but shooter Sigi Burger brought them back into the game with a quick-fire double following a fierce interception and turnover by player and head coach Jo Trip.

Despite a year out of the game, Trip showed no signs of rust after rising to tip the ball out, but Ine-Mari Venter and Kira Rothwell worked the ball back into a shooting position and converted.

Stars continued to fight with Jess Shaw displaying her vision as she sent in a pin-point long ball into the arms of Burger. Despite this they ended the first quarter 15-18 behind.

A mistake from Mavericks allowed Stars to counter-attack at the start of the second quarter and pull the game back to just one goal. Player of the match Trip continued to display her presence, forcing another turnover with Burger putting her side ahead for the first time in the match.

However, as Stars looked to draw a two-goal lead, Jodie Gibson intercepted and Mavericks shooter Venter converted the turnover, to ensure a narrow lead 28-29 at half-time.

With the game still very much in the balance, Stars earned an early turnover converted by Burger, following a perfectly weighted pass by Shaw. Venter looked for a long-range effort, but the ball only circled the hoop before Trip blocked the shooter from receiving the rebound, forcing another turnover.

Stars began to dominate after forcing Mavericks into another mistake and things got better when Venter was again trapped out and forced to produce a long-range effort by Trip. The Stars keeper collected the rebound, allowing her side to convert the turnover and Stars finished the third quarter 47-41 up.

Mavericks continued to keep a foot in the game in the final 15 minutes. Gibson produced a vital interception, forcing a turnover and Venter converted to reduce the deficit.

Stars maintained their intensity as Trip forced Venter out wide, stealing the ball with a great interception, but Gibson once again prevented the counterattack. Captain Gabby Marshall flew in with a vital block against her former side before sending her team away on the counter.

With five minutes remaining, Mavericks had hope when the deficit was brought to just four goals. However, a powerful ball in by Marshall allowed Burger to reinstate the five-goal lead.

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