STAND-IN skipper Josie Janz-Dawson urged her Severn Stars to forget about excuses and start showing their true potential.
Stars were left bitterly disappointed after falling to a 65-44 defeat to fellow Vitality Superleague newcomers Wasps Netball at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.
Janz-Dawson admitted Stars missed injured captain Laura Malcolm, who suffered an ankle injury in the previous week’s 48-39 defeat to Team Bath, but the players know they can do better.
“We had a good second and fourth quarter, but we got blown out of the water in the first and third,” said Janz-Dawson said. “Not having our captain Laura Malcolm in the mix was hard.
“We’ve had Jodie Gibson come back in at defence and it’s about how we now work her into the combinations as she’s a dynamic player.
“We’ve got a real mix of what we can put on court. It’s just finding the right combination to counteract the teams that we’re coming up against. It’s always hard coming off a loss like this.
“We can go a whole season and think ‘what if’, or we can reduce those errors and really start becoming competitive by playing the brand of netball we know we can.”
In an energetic Midlands derby, Stars head coach Mo’onia Gerrard reshuffled her squad and welcomed back England international Gibson after injury.
But the hosts started sluggishly and Wasps took an early five-point lead, before Stars’ dynamic goalkeeper Gibson then made a flying interception to prevent the visitors from extending their advantage.
Great defensive work by the hosts then allowed goal shooting duo Afeisha Noel and Eleanor Cardwell to reduce the deficit to 20-7 at the close of the first quarter.
Stars started the second period with more intent as Cardwell scored two quick-fire points, before centre Iona Darroch settled into helping the shooters find their rhythm.
But Wasps were still in control as they entered the interval with a 35-22 advantage and picked up where they left off in the third quarter, with goal shooters Rachel Dunn and Natalie Haythornewaite sinking three early scores.
Stars’ defensive duo Rebecca Oatley and Janz-Dawson applied pressure to Wasps’ attacks as the quarter wound down, but the damage had already been done as the Coventry outfit now held a 20-point lead.
The final period saw the hosts bring on defender Rachel Sweet and goal shooters Yasmin Hodge-England and Rebecca Tildesley in an attempt to reduce the arrears, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.
Stars’ return to league action next Monday when they host Scottish Sirens at the University of Worcester Arena (tip off 7.30pm).