Sirens si­lenced Fine first half paves way for con­vinc­ing win

Gloucestershire Echo - - NETBALL -

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.

Pic­ture: Ian Steele Pho­tog­ra­phy

Stars’ goal shooter Ge­or­gia Rowe com­petes for the ball

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