SEVERN Stars fell just short with their second-half comeback as Vitality Netball Superleague leaders London Pulse earned a 56-50 victory at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.

Stars came close to overturning an 11-point deficit after the third quarter but could not find a way to produce a shock win.

Both sides started strongly and it was goal for goal in the opening minutes. But Stars’ player-coach Jo Trip proved to be a problem for the Pulse attack as she read the play, cutting out the dangerous looping ball before setting her side away for a turnover goal.

Stars’ pressure continued to challenge the away side, but then a series of loose balls and unforced errors from the hosts allowed Pulse to gain a six-goal cushion at the end of the quarter, 10-16. 

A strong start from Stars in the opening few moments of the second quarter saw Trip’s side reduce the deficit to three after consecutive goals, but Pulse continued to display their experience.

Stars defender Jess Haynes looked to prevent a Pulse attack, but her interception rolled out for a throw in and Olivia Tchine again converted to increase their lead.

The League’s top goal scorer, Stars shooter Sigi Burger, who retained her 100 per cent goal conversion rate in the match, netted the team’s 21st to stay in touch. A quick centre pass routine saw Tchine score again, but a buzzer-beater from Stars kept them in touch, trailing by just four at half-time 25-29.

Pulse coach, Sam Bird, looked to freshen up her side via a triple change in the third quarter, but Stars captain and midcourter Gabby Marshall remained more than alert, making back-to-back vital interceptions. The second one stuck, providing a turnover converted by Burger.

Pulse made another substitution as Sacha McDonald entered the court at goal attack and wasted no time in making her mark by providing some defensive work and turning over play before regaining possession herself to convert.

With just 15 minutes left on the clock, Pulse found themselves 11 goals ahead through the clinical Tchine and McDonald as they led 33-44. 

Stars came flying out the blocks in the final quarter as they looked to chip away at the deficit, with the attacking duo converting consecutive goals, but Tchine continued to reply. Nothing would fall the home side’s way as the dynamic duo of Grace Namana and Burger seemed to be just out of sync.

While Pulse looked to see out the game, Stars kept up their intensity and began to regain rhythm, with Burger sinking back-to-back goals. Despite this late charge, Stars fell short as the visitors secured all three points, 50-56.