Play-off chasers prove too strong for Stars

Gloucestershire Echo - - RUGBY UNION -

SEV­ERN Stars lost 62-48 to a Sara­cens Mav­er­icks side chasing a place in the top four of the Vi­tal­ity Net­ball Su­per­league.

De­spite lead­ing after the first quar­ter, Stars were un­able to live with Mav­er­icks as they stepped up their game in the fi­nal quar­ter, which al­lowed them to pull de­ci­sively clear.

There was a wel­come re­turn for Iona Dar­roch, who had missed the Easter Big Week­end due to ill­ness and she made some fly­ing in­ter­cep­tions in the cen­tre court and good link up play with Lucy Har­ris, Maryka Holtzhause­n and Ge­or­gia Rowe in the at­tack­ing end.

The re­la­tion­ship that de­fen­sive duo Jodi-ann Ward and Sam Cook have de­vel­oped over the sea­son showed as the pres­sure in the cir­cle in­creased, mak­ing it harder for Mav­er­icks to score and Stars ended the first quar­ter 13-11 up.

But two vi­tal turnovers in the Stars’ at­tack­ing end en­abled Mav­er­icks to pull in front but Holtzhause­n’s long range ef­fort right on the whis­tle brought the gap back to 30-25 at the in­ter­val.

The start of the third quar­ter saw Mav­er­icks pull away to an eight goal lead, but Stars man­aged to pull it back to 45-41 at the end of the quar­ter, fin­ish­ing off with a five sec­ond cen­tre pass to goal move that Holtzhause­n scored on the whis­tle.

An un­set­tled start to the fourth quar­ter from Stars saw Mav­er­icks pull away again.

Paige Reed en­tered the game at goal shooter, re­plac­ing Ge­or­gia Rowe, and added to the score sheet, but Mav­er­icks had se­cured a com­fort­able lead by this point and Stars could not find a way back.

Dar­roch said: “We knew Mav­er­icks were go­ing to be tough op­po­si­tion to beat. It was great to be able to chal­lenge them for three quar­ters and there were sev­eral times where we could have gone ahead and pushed on but we didn’t cap­i­talise on our chances.

“Mav­er­icks came out fight­ing in the fourth quar­ter and it was dis­ap­point­ing that we couldn’t ad­just to stay in the game.

“I think we showed a lot of im­prove­ment though from our game against them ear­lier in the sea­son and there were a lot of pos­i­tives to take into our fi­nal game this week.”

Stars face Wasps Net­ball at the Univer­sity of Worces­ter Arena on May 4 in their last game of the sea­son. For tick­ets visit www.tick­et­ net­ball-su­per­league-sev­ern-stars#bio.

Stars’ Jodi-ann Ward de­fend­ing a shot

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