Sirens silenced Fine first half paves way for convincing win
SEVERN Stars put on a ruthless first half display to silence Strathclyde Sirens with an emphatic 56-37 Vitality Netball Superleague win.
Head coach Sam Bird was full of praise for her team: “I’m really pleased to get such a strong win,” she said.
“Our first half was particularly outstanding. We have talked after the last few games about trusting our game plan and sticking to structures and tonight I saw that from every single one of them.”
Bird started with the same starting line-up that lost out to Surrey Storm in the previous round and her faith was immediately rewarded.
Stars came shooting out of the blocks under the lights of the Emirates Arena as defensive trio Sam Cook, Jodi-ann Ward and Ella Powell-davies heaped the pressure on the Scottish attack and repeatedly came out with the ball.
In previous rounds, Stars have been wasteful in possession, but they looked assured, confident and ruthless, and repeatedly converted their turnovers to goal. They finished the first quarter with an 18-12 lead.
The second quarter saw Sirens make a change to their defence in an attempt to stem the flow, but they could do nothing to stop the relentless scoring of Stars’ Welsh international Georgia Rowe.
Rowe has become a key player to Stars this season and Sirens had no answers to the 6ft 5in goal shooter, who converted 49 goals out of 51 attempts on the night.
Despite the encouragement of the Scottish crowd, it was Stars who held a comfortable 36-20 goal lead at the half-time break.
Bird made maximum use of her squad as the second half saw the introduction of Cara Lea Moseley at wing attack, while Iona Darroch moved into the centre position.
Moseley made an impact, helping Stars to continue to pressure Sirens, showing no mercy for the Scottish side. At the other end, goal keeper Sam Cook did well and linked superbly with young Jamaican defender Ward as the score stood at 48-29 after three quarters.
At the start of the final quarter, Bird gave her youthful bench some valuable experience and game time.
It was a special night for 17-yearold, Beth Gabriel as she made her Superleague debut, coming on to see out the final few minutes.
Stars’ next game sees them return to the University of Worcester Arena on March 4, where they will face high flying Saracens Mavericks. For tickets visit www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleaguesevern-stars#bio.
» England star Pamela Cookey is set to join in with a training session for 11-14 year old players at Old Chelts Netball Club tonight (Thursday February 28).
The evening at Cheltenham Ladies College has been organised by a parent who has connections with the ex-england captain who has kindly offered to come along and coach a session.
Stars’ goal shooter Georgia Rowe competes for the ball