IN the wake of the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season finishing, we have taken a look back at how each team fared. We begin the 11-team countdown with the last placed Severn Stars who only managed the three wins in a challenging season.
Goals For: 954 (11th)
Goals Against: 1156 (10th)
Goal Difference: -202 (11th)
SEASON IN A NUTSHELL
The opening round win against Surrey Storm was not indicative of what was to come in the 20-round season, with the Stars suffering an 11-game losing streak before toppling the Wasps in Round 14. The last Stars victory would come in Round 16 after getting past Strathclyde Sirens, but otherwise it was slim pickings for the Stars who had the worst goal difference in the league and just generally struggled to score.
Severn Stars’ five-goal win over Strathclyde Sirens on the road was a standout result, and though the season was done and dusted by that stage, showed plenty of grit throughout. A five-goal Stars lead by quarter time was slowly reduced by the Sirens, but a 12-10 final term just gave them some breathings space to win 54-49. The result was a case of everything that could have gone right, did as Cathrine Tuivaiti shot 34 goals at 100 per cent, Paige Reed (20 goals from 22 attempts and 14 feeds) and Bethan Dyke (18 feeds, one deflections) were all impressive.
It is hard to look past defender Lucy Herdman who was a shining light for the Stars. The only player to finish in the top five for any statistic in the VNSL, Herdman recorded 47 intercepts and 98 turnovers, fifth in both counts. The 26-year-old also had 59 deflections and 24 rebounds, but it was her offensive work – through intercepts and turnovers that really stood out.
ONE TO WATCH
Also in defence for the Stars was Summer Artman, with the Roses rising star playing 17 matches in her debut season with the club since crossing from Team Bath in the off-season. Artman managed 29 intercepts, 35 deflections, 15 rebounds and 53 turnovers in a breakout season. She moved for more opportunity, and the talented defender certainly got that, looking at home, albeit in a struggling side.
The Stars have a mix of veterans and younger players, but just lacked that depth and star quality compared to other sides. Tuivaiti and Liana Leota provide that experience, but the midcourt when Leota was shut down was difficult to overcome, though Dyke stepped up in season 2022. If they can pick up another quality midcourter and a goal shooter to effectively transition to take over from Tuivaiti, then the Stars will move in the right direction. Youth could be the key, to back in their development.