SEVERN Stars marked their debut in the Vitality Netball Superleague with a 58-40 defeat to reigning champions Surrey Storm at the Surrey Sports Park on Saturday.
The new University of Worcester Arena-based franchise came out the blocks firing against a strong Storm side to take an early five-point lead.
Despite it being their first ever professional match as a unit, the visitors looked dangerous on the ball and were clinical with their chances, which saw them edge an 11-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Stars’ Australian import Josie Janz-Dawson was turning over a lot of ball and showing good defensive presence.
But the two-time Superleague champions showcased why they are amongst the favourites to win their title as they settled and began to play a steady and consistent attacking game, which Stars failed to match.
Although the visitors created a strong defensive presence, they struggled to convert against a now-firing Storm side, which resulted in a ten-point half time deficit.
Looking to turn the tide, Yasmin Hodge-England came off the bench to make her first Superleague appearance at goal attack.
She made a positive impact, working well with Eleanor Cardwell, who landed 33 of her 39 shots (85 per cent), as Stars shared the third quarter 13-13.
However, the final period saw Storm up their attacking tempo to pull away and wrap up victory.
Stars showed moments of relentless defence and slick attack, but head coach Mo’onia Gerrard will be looking to iron out the creases and make her side’s game more consistent as the tournament progresses.
Stars face another Superleague away trip when they travel to Loughborough Lighting on Saturday (midday).