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27th Jun, 2022

Stars coach to end three-year stay at the helm

Rob George 20th May, 2022

STARS head coach Melissa Bessell will leave the franchise at the end of the Vitality Netballl Superleague campaign to return to her native New Zealand.

The mum-of-seven is leaving the UK for home to be with her family while her husband has treatment for cancer.

The widely-regarded head coach was appointed Seven Stars chief in July 2019 following an international coaching career with New Zealand Maori, Fiji and Wales.

But the clash with the Strathclyde Sirens at Oxstalls Arena, Gloucester on May 29 will be her last at the Stars’ helm, though she has vowed to keep in contact with the franchise and players.

“I have enjoyed putting a lot of time and effort into the development of the players, bringing through many of the youngsters and giving them opportunities to play alongside great players like Liana Leota and Cat Tuivaiti,” she said.

“Coaching is in my blood and I’ve always been about developing players as well as coaches.

“The Stars franchise and all the players and everyone I work alongside daily have just been fantastic and have been so supportive.

“That’s why I want to keep being involved in Stars because of the love, attention and support they’ve given me – it’s been amazing.”

Stars are now looking to recruit a new head coach to guide the senior team forward into the 2022-23 season.

Mick Donovan, head of the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester, said: “We would like to thank Melissa for her huge contribution to Severn Stars over the last three years.

“She has a very player-focused approach and has instilled very strong principles in terms of developing and supporting players at all levels.

“All sectors of the club have benefited from Melissa’s flair, experience and attention to detail and we are sincerely grateful to her for her committed and professional approach.

“Everyone at Stars wishes Melissa a safe return to New Zealand and every success in the future.”

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