Sam Bird hails Severn Stars' performance in Manchester Thunder victory
Last Updated: 15/04/19 2:29pm
Severn Stars head coach Sam Bird was "particularly proud" after her side recorded a third win on the bounce to shock league leaders Manchester Thunder on Saturday.
Leading into the Round 14 match, Sky Sports' Tamsin Greenway had labelled Stars as a "dangerous" side and highlighted their potential to be the next team to shock one of the big guns. That's exactly what they did - leading the head coach to sing their praises after the full-time whistle.
"A super third win in a row for the squad. I'm particularly proud of the performance as beating Thunder in Manchester is always a challenge, but the squad executed the game plan to the best of their ability and it paid off," said Bird.
"We knew we had to disrupt Thunder's rhythm and isolate key players and we did that well.
"A good day for the club and we look to continue to work hard this week as we approach the double header weekend."
The encounter started with a 20-minute delay - the centre circle was 7cm out of place - and once that was rectified, the two teams commenced at pace.
Stars' Sam Cook and Jodi-Ann Ward set their tone in defence while Georgia Rowe helped to convert their hard work at the other end. For Thunder, their fluidity wasn't quite there and the first pause saw Stars hold a 13-11 lead.
The second quarter then saw Stars misplace their own rhythm. Lucy Harris had moved to C and Iona Darroch to WA, and they found themselves 19-14 down. However, their resilience came through and a scoring streak arrived to create a 20-19 lead that pressed out to 25-21 after 30 minutes.
Vitality Netball Superleague - Round 14 Fixtures
|Friday, April 12||Team Bath||57 - 55||Loughborough Lightning|
|Saturday, April 13||Celtic Dragons||59 - 49||Strathclyde Sirens|
|Manchester Thunder||47 - 50||Severn Stars|
|Surrey Storm||56 - 53||London Pulse|
|Monday, April 15||Saracens Mavericks||vs||Wasps Netball|
Thunder made several substitutions going into the third quarter and Rebekah Airey's arrival added a spark while Stars kept their format. Initially the visitors extended their advantage to 33-28 before Thunder's dogged determination levelled the contest at 36 goals apiece.
The final 15 minutes started with a few nerves from both teams as neither wanted to be the one to blink first. It went goal-for-goal before Stars pressed from seven minutes out.
They seized their window of opportunity to create a four-goal cushion but the home side weren't going anywhere and drew back to 47-46.
Stars kept their heads, though, and saw out a huge victory to send yet another shock-wave through the Vitality Netball Superleague.
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"It was definitely not a good day at the office," said Thunder's director of netball Karen Greig post match.
"There were flashes of some really great stuff but we simply weren't good enough over the four quarters and full credit to Stars, they brought their A-game.
"Defeat is only good if you learn from it and we will certainly do that. It's a big week in training this week as we continue to bid for the top four."
The Vitality Superleague continues on Sky Sports with four live games across a busy Easter weekend - from 1.45pm on Saturday April 21 we have Sirens vs Lightning and Pulse vs Thunder and then from 3.45pm on Sunday April 22 we have Storm vs Stars and Bath vs Mavericks.