NETBALL - Severn Stars struck down by Thunder in historic play-off semi-final - The Worcester Observer

NETBALL - Severn Stars struck down by Thunder in historic play-off semi-final

SEVERN Stars battled to a valiant 63-54 defeat against table toppers Manchester Thunder in the Netball Super League play-off semi-finals.

The Stars, playing in their first semi-final, reduced the deficit to three points in an electric third quarter only for four-time champions Thunder to clinch victory at Belle Vue Arena.

Thunder won the first quarter 17-13 in a back-and-forth affair as Lois Pearson and Paige Reed undid a solid Stars defence, recording a 100 per cent shooting record inside the circle which included netting 11 times in the space of eight minutes.

And Manchester widened the gap between the two teams in the second quarter despite a flying start from Jo Trip’s Stars.

Severn’s Jess Shaw proved invaluable going forward as she provided excellent service to Sigi Burger and Lefebre Rademan as Stars began to find their rhythm.

However, Thunder remained determined and went into the break with a 32-23 lead as playmaker Imogen Allison starred throughout.

Stars came out in the third quarter with a point to prove as Trip, playing at goal defence, helped drive her side up the court.

Stars superbly reduced the deficit from nine points to three following a number of impressive turnovers as Rademan and Burger turned the tables on Thunder.

Burger kept her 100 per cent shooting record intact with 32 goals and led Stars to an inspired third quarter leaving it all to play for in the closing stages with the scores at 44-40 following a 17-12 third-quarter victory.

In the final quarter, Trip caught an early rebound to help Stars surge up court but Thunder remained clinical when it mattered.

Manchester racked up the goals to edge closer to a place in the Grand Final as the home side’s reinforcements proved the difference in an end-to-end affair.

Stars can still claim a bronze medal in their last-ever match against London Pulse in a third-place play-off at Resorts World Arena in Birmingham on Saturday, June 29 with the game to begin at 2pm.


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