VNSL 2021: Team review – Severn Stars

THE 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague season is officially done and dusted meaning it is now time for our postseason reviews. Next up in the series is Severn Stars, who really struggled to showcase their potency across the court this season however, like many teams, developed and  improved as the season went on and finished their season on a high in the final round.

Season form: 4-16 (9th)

The Stars were forced to shuffle the bibs around a couple of times during the season, with captain Liana Leota starting the season strong, then spending time on the sidelines which opened up space for a couple of youngsters to step up, before the New Zealander returned then finished the season on the bench. Realistically, the lack of consistency hurt the Stars, although the ongoing workrate from the likes of Nia Jones, Georgia Rowe and Lucy Herdman provided some much-needed structure at vital points across the court. Goal attack Paige Reed was a livewire earning four player of the match awards throughout the season, and the return of Northern Ireland international Kyra Jones did the side a wealth of good following Bethan Dyke being ruled out with injury. While the side did not see a heap of success all four of their wins were by solid margins, with an eight-goal loss to Sirens, nine-goal loss to Lightning, 12-goal loss to Thunder and 13-goal loss to Bath on the second time around proving just how much the Stars were consistently testing the top sides.

Best win: Def. Surrey Storm 46-39, Round 13/14

With a couple of wins under their belts, it was the Stars’ seven-goal victory over Surrey Storm in Round 13/14 that really set their performances apart, with the result one of their best four-quarter performances for the season, brimming with confidence with a couple of wins behind them. Whilst all four of the Stars wins came against Storm and Dragons, it was that consistency against both teams that stood out. It took an outstanding performance from Reed during the Round 13/14 clash, with the goal attack doing a wealth of work out the front to spot Rowe at the post, whilst also utilising her own confidence to pile on 24 goals. Leota’s workrate out the front was immense as she spurred the side on in attack, while defensively the side hummed as Herdman finished with five turnovers (two intercepts, six deflections) and Adi Bolakoro and Iman Thomas shared the goal defence load combining for six turnovers (three intercepts, two deflections, two deflections).

Standout player: Nia Jones

Most Improved: Paige Reed

Whilst not the flashiest player on the roster, there was no doubting the reliability and consistency of defender Jones. Her willingness to contest hard and use her physical strength was made abundantly clear, with her acceleration and evasive speed continuously providing issues for opposition sides. The Welsh player took the court in wing defence for majority of the season and was clinical in transition, providing a solid backup option through the midcourt where required. She picked up 23 intercepts and 30 deflections for the season, averaging just about two turnovers per match. It was a breakout season for Reed, who in her third season at the club starred in her approach to each game at hand and ability to stand up and deliver. The goal attack did a wealth of work every time she took the court, able to be a playmaker out the front with her smooth movement, but also command control and be a threat on the scoreboard too, consistently going to post from range and using her strong drives to find space in the circle. Reed averaged 82 per cent accuracy to post throughout the season and was fairly clean with ball in hand, averaging just under two unforced errors per game – which for a side at the bottom of the ladder, is pretty impressive.


Picture credit: Ben Lumley Photography

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