SEVERN Stars' vice-captain Nia Jones admits consistency is the key to her side improving on last weekend's heavy defeat to reigning Vitality Netball Superleague champions Manchester Thunder.

Stars are back in action this evening against another top side in Loughborough Lightning after Sunday afternoon's 27-60 loss to Manchester and Stars will be hoping to earn their first victory of the season.

It has been a rough start to the 2021 campaign with three straight losses but Jones insists the side must stay positive despite a tough start.

Jones, said: “Obviously it’s a disappointing result for us, but we have to stay positive and stick together because we have another opportunity to improve again tonight.

"Thunder’s consistency on centre pass conversion was better than ours today, and at this level that’s what we need to nail to be more competitive on the scoreboard come the end of each quarter.”

Reigning champions Thunder showed their class early on, scoring a quick six goals without reply but the experienced Stars captain Liana Leota allowed them to get on the board and settle into the game.

Stars started by playing a rotating circle, with Paige Reed at goal shooter and Jane Taylor in at goal attack. Goal keeper Lucy Herdman continued her good form from the opening weekend with a couple of vital turnovers that Stars successfully converted to goal, but the quarter ended with Thunder ahead 7-14.

With an early turnover from Vice Captain Nia Jones at the start of the second quarter, it looked like the momentum was going to change, but pressure applied by Thunder resulted in a number of forced errors and Stars were made to pay.

The youngest member of the Stars squad, 16-year-old Issy Eaton, who has come through the Stars pathway, made her debut entering the game at goal shooter with Reed moving to goal attack. Player of the Match, Joyce Mvula, and Eleanor Cardwell linked well in the shooting circle for Thunder, with strong feeds from England Roses players Laura Malcolm and Amy Carter allowing Thunder to pull away, ending the first half 14-32.

Leota didn’t return to the game after half-time due to an injury to her hand and head coach Bessell tried a number of combinations during the third quarter, with Stars showing at times what they can do with good composure and patient play.

At other times, miscommunication and poor ball placement resulted in an experienced Thunder side dominating play and outscoring Stars 15 to six during the critical third quarter, ending it with a comfortable 20-47 lead.

The final quarter highlighted the depth of Thunder’s bench, with the introduction of a number of their pathway players but it did not stop them going on to record a 27-60 victory.

Stars will look to rapidly reflect and rebuild ahead of today’s (March 1) match against Loughborough Lightning at 7.15pm.

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports and the Sky Sports YouTube channel.