SEVERN Stars soared to victory on the opening weekend of the 2023 Netball Superleague season, defeating Saracens Mavericks 59-55 in a hotly contested encounter.

Although the Hertfordshire-based side made the better start and took an early lead, Stars came flying out of the blocks in the second quarter to get back into contention and eventually carved out a significant lead in the third.

The visitors produced a resolute defence from there on and they held on to take all three points. 

Having come bottom of the table last season, the Stars have began the 2023 campaign in style. 

It was an ominous start to the match from Stars, conceding an early double, but shooter Sigi Burger brought them back into the game with a quick-fire double following a fierce interception and turnover by player and Head Coach Jo Trip.

Despite a year out of the game, Trip showed no signs of rust after rising to tip the ball out, but Ine-Mari Venter and Kira Rothwell worked the ball back into a shooting position and converted.

Stars, however, continued to fight, with Jess Shaw displaying her vision as she sent in a pin-point long ball into the arms of Burger. Despite this they ended the first quarter 15-18 behind.

Stars began the second quarter strong. A mistake from Mavericks allowed Stars to counterattack and pull the game back to just one goal.

Goalkeeper Trip, named Player of the Match, continued to display her presence, forcing another turnover with Burger putting her side ahead for the first time in the match.

However, as Stars looked to draw a two-goal lead, Jodie Gibson intercepted and Mavericks shooter Venter converted the turnover, to ensure a narrow lead at half-time.

With the game still very much in the balance, Stars earned an early turnover converted by Burger, following a perfectly weighted ball by Shaw.

Venter looked for a long-range effort, but the ball only circled the hoop before Trip blocked the shooter from receiving the rebound, forcing another turnover.

Stars began to dominate after forcing Mavericks into another mistake and things got better when Venter was again trapped out and forced to produce a long-range effort by Trip.

The Stars keeper collected the rebound, allowing her side to convert the turnover and Stars finished the third quarter 47-41 up.

Mavericks continued to keep a foot in the game in the final 15 minutes.

Gibson produced a vital interception, forcing a turnover and Venter converted to reduce the deficit.

Stars maintained their intensity as Trip forced Venter out wide, stealing the ball with a great interception, but Gibson once again prevented the counterattack.

Captain Gabby Marshall flew in with a vital block against her former side before sending her team away on the counter.

With five minutes remaining, Mavericks had hope when the deficit was brought to just four goals, however a powerful ball in by Marshall saw Burger reinstate the five-goal lead.