SEVERN Stars head coach Melissa Bessell was left feeling frustrated as she watched her side narrowly beaten 42-38 by league newcomers Leeds Rhinos on Monday evening.

The defeat means Stars stay second-bottom of the Vitality Netball SuperLeague table after their sixth defeat in seven to begin the 2021 season.

“That wasn’t a good performance, we gave that game to them,” said Bessell.

“We had so many times that we could have taken that game forward and we didn’t.”

Although the second half of the match was a draw, Rhinos had done enough in the second quarter to secure the win.

It was an even first quarter with Stars shooter Georgia Rowe starting well, holding strong against Paige Kindred.

A long bomb from Stars Captain Nia Jones, at wing defence, early on in the quarter set the standard and connections to shooters Paige Reed and Georgia Rowe remained solid but Rhinos’ Rhea Dixon manipulated the circle and dominated the front cut ball which kept their score ticking over.

They eventually edged ahead with a penalty shot to take a 10-9 lead.

Halfway through the second quarter it looked as though Rhinos were going to pull away, but an interception from Lucy Herdman was converted to goal to keep them within two goals.

A flurry of interceptions from both sides built the excitement, with both sides not making the most of their hard work but a few near misses from Stars meant Rhinos could pull away slightly and increase their lead to four at half-time.

Rhinos started to pull away mid-way through the third quarter, going six goals up but Stars kept fighting and pulled it back to three.

As the clock ticked down, Stars got a turnover in the defensive end, but were unsuccessful to convert due to an attacking contact in the circle, which allowed Rhinos to maintain their lead, ending the quarter 32-28.

Both teams had it all to play for in the final quarter and despite Stars having periods of great play they just could not capitalise and Leeds managed to hold on for a 42-38 win.

Stars’ next match is against Saracens Mavericks next Monday March 29, at 5pm, live on Sky Sports.