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Severn Stars’ head coach Melissa Bessell has called upon Kyra Jones for the rest of the Vitality Netball Superleague season; the former Wales international will be available for immediate selection, with Stars facing Sirens live on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel, on Sunday
Last Updated: 22/04/21 7:18am
Kyra Jones has joined Severn Stars for the rest of the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague season, as an injury replacement for Bethan Dyke.
The former Wales international and Superleague player has come out of retirement to answer head coach Melissa Bessell’s call, after Dyke was injured during the first quarter of a contest with Dragons on April 4.
Dyke, who has ruptured her ACL, will play no further part in the 2021 Superleague season and Jones will now be available for immediate selection by Bessell.
Stars continue their Vitality Netball Superleague campaign on Sunday against Strathclyde Sirens, before they take on Wasps Netball on Monday evening at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Jones arrives at Stars with considerable Superleague experience under her belt. She originally arrived from Australia as an ‘import’ player for fellow Superleague side, Celtic Dragons, ahead of the 2009/10 season.
Jones then went on to qualify and play for her adopted nation Wales. She gained more than 50 caps for the national side before retiring from the sport in 2019.
“Joining Severn Stars was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down really. To be able to get back out there and play the game I know and love, and be given a ‘Round Two’, is something that I didn’t think would happen,” the former international said.
“Beth is a great friend and beloved team-mate [for Wales]. I am just gutted she isn’t on the court with me, or instead of me, but I know she will back stronger than ever and I can’t wait to see her get back out there.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Round 12 Fixtures
|Sunday at 12pm||Celtic Dragons vs Team Bath Netball||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Sunday at 2pm||Severn Stars vs Strathclyde Sirens||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Sunday at 4pm||Saracens Mavericks vs Leeds Rhinos Netball||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Sunday at 6pm||Wasps vs Loughborough Lightning||Streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Monday at 5.15pm||Wasps vs Severn Stars||Live on Sky Sports Mix and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
|Monday at 7.15pm||Surrey Storm vs London Pulse||Live on Sky Sports Mix and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel|
“I am looking forward to getting back out on court and seeing what I can do. Having been out of the Superleague for almost two years, it will certainly be challenging.
“I have tried to stay fit but there is nothing that can prep you for match day games. I can’t wait to get involved with this group of talented netballers and am looking forward to working with Melissa and the rest of the Stars coaching staff.”
Severn Stars are currently ranked 10th in the Vitality Netball Superleague table, and they will be looking to attack the second half of the season with gusto.
“I think I’ve been very lucky in being able to sign Kyra Jones,” Bessell said.
“The bottom line is that having to replace a player of Bethan Dyke’s calibre is extremely difficult. Bethan is a big loss for us, but she is already on the road to recovery and we wish her all the best.
“As I have been in the country long enough and have very good relationships with a lot of players, I knew that Kyra was not playing, not classed as an import, but also has a lot of experience of playing at both Superleague and international level.
“For me, it was about making sure I could bring someone in to cover the remainder of the season, who could bring experience and knowledge and fit in with the team.
“I know that Kyra will do that, so I am very excited to be announcing that she is joining the team. I’ve got a nice little ‘diamond’ in Kyra to slip into the squad; it’s onwards and upwards from here.”
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Sunday with Round 12 and four matches back-to-back streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 12pm.
Coverage of the Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Friday with Round 10 and the start of a 10-match weekend live on Sky Sports and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 05/04/21 9:03pm
Manchester Thunder moved up into the top four after a second successive victory in Round Nine of the Vitality Netball Superleague.
Karen Greig’s outfit added a 59-37 result against Saracens Mavericks to the impressive way in which they ended Loughborough Lightning’s seven-match winning streak on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the first match on Monday evening, London Pulse finished the round on a high as they beat Melissa Bessell’s Severn Stars by five goals.
If you did miss any of the action, then you can watch every match back in full on the Sky Sports YouTube channel and the competition returns on Friday with a 10-match weekend.
Vitality Netball Superleague – Round Nine Results
|Sunday||Manchester Thunder 59-50 Loughborough Lightning|
|Sunday||Severn Stars 47-35 Celtic Dragons|
|Sunday||London Pulse 37-49 Wasps|
|Sunday||Saracens Mavericks 39-38 Team Bath Netball|
|Monday||Severn Stars 36-41 London Pulse|
|Monday||Saracens Mavericks 37-59 Manchester Thunder|
Thunder turn it on against Mavs
Manchester Thunder, the 2019 champions, showed that they’re getting into an excellent rhythm as they backed up their performance against Lightning with another assured outing on Monday night.
After seeing Mavericks beat Team Bath Netball the previous day, Greig’s team knew they needed to start fast, and they did.
Thunder put the building blocks in place during the opening minutes, before they pressed down hard on the accelerator and kept their foot there for the whole of the first half.
Elia McCormick and player of the match Laura Malcolm were tenacious in defence, while Amy Carter and Caroline O’Hanlon picked up where they left off on Sunday and showed their creativity in attack.
With Eleanor Cardwell and Joyce Mvula being such a tight unit, Mavericks weren’t able to gain the same amount of ball as they did against Bath. That was proving to be costly and it meant that Thunder were able to create a 30-20 lead at the interval.
With their head coaches’ words ringing in their ears and personnel changes for Mavericks, both teams upped the ante in the third quarter and there was plenty of body-on-body as it played out.
Mavericks’ confidence grew as they found shooter Britney Clarke, who’d arrived on for Ine-Mari Venter earlier in the match, in good form, while in defence they hassled and disrupted Thunder more.
The reward was a much closer quarter, just 10-9 in Thunder’s favour, and although Mavericks began the last strongly, they couldn’t sustain it.
In contrast, the 2019 champions accelerated again. With Malcolm leading by example, they continued to add to their tally and didn’t let up for a moment. In the final minutes, Greig introduced a number of her players off the bench and the final 22-goal margin will have been noted by every other side in the competition.
Pulse prevail over Stars
London Pulse put in a strong first-half performance to finish Round Nine on a high with a 41-36 victory over Severn Stars.
The outfit’s third win of the season was built off the back of a confident start and connections at both ends of the court coming together.
Meanwhile, in the first two quarters Stars struggled to match Pulse’s height across court and found themselves under intense pressure in attack.
Ahead of the contest, both head coaches highlighted how evenly matched the two teams were and the majority of the first quarter went goal-for-goal.
Initially Stars looked settled going forwards, despite fielding a new attacking line-up after losing Beth Dyke to injury on Sunday and Liana Leota earlier in the season.
However, as the first half played out the dynamic Funmi Fadoju performed superbly at WD and alongside her defensive colleagues, she made life difficult for Stars.
Pulse then used the second quarter to really tighten their grip on the contest and their productivity meant that they led by 12 at the midway point.
After the break Stars hit back, as they backed themselves more in attack and found Georgia Rowe and Paige Reed more frequently in the circle. Not only did they force Pulse into making changes in their defensive end, but they won the quarter 11-9.
At 33-23 down, Stars knew that they had to make inroads into the 10-goal deficit quickly. Initially, they weren’t able to do that as the industrious Halimat Adio kept the pressure on Rowe, and Lindsay Keable’s arrival added further experience in the circle.
Then, with four minutes to play, Stars made their move. As the minutes ticked by, Bessell’s team grew stronger however when Adio stepped up at key moments, it meant that Pulse were able to hold firm and Stars ran out of time.
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Friday with Round 10 and the start of a 10-match weekend, live on Sky Sports and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.
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