SEVERN Stars put up a brave fight at Loughborough Lightning but were unable to match their hosts, who ran out 57-51 victors in the two side's Netball Superleague contest.

Lightning flew out of the blocks and created a substantial lead, but a resilient Stars grew into the game and managed to narrow the gap. However, they never regained parity against a rampant Lightning side, who kept their place in the top four.

A cagey start saw both sides produce turnovers in the opening minutes, but it was the travelling side who made it count as Sigi Burger sunk the first goal. However, an energetic Lightning side began with intensity, slotting eight consecutive goals past Stars following a series of defensive interceptions by Fran Williams.

Player/coach Jo Trip’s Stars side grew into the game with goal attack Grace Namana threading a ball into the arms of goal shooter Burger but Lightning kept themselves ahead at 20-13.

Stars retained their tempo from the end of the first quarter as Trip earnt an early turnover, allowing Jess Shaw to feed a long looping ball into the arms of Burger to convert.

A series of long balls into the circle by Jess Shaw helped Stars to reduce the deficit, but the experienced Lightning side continued to convert their chances.

Stars battled well, as substitute Jasmine Brown read Lightning’s play before intercepting and setting her side away for the counterattack, scoring ahead of the buzzer to bring the game to within four at half-time (31-27).

After the interval, Lightning came out firing to extend their advantage. Trip’s side continued to dig in, with a misplaced shot from Thacker picked up by Brown who produced a turnover for her side and Namana the opportunity to capitalise.

A few unforced errors from Lightning allowed the away side to remain in touch, but the experience of the home side showed as they retained a three-goal lead heading into the closing 15 minutes, 43-40.

Stars continued where they left off as Burger converted straight from the centre pass, but Lightning replied in kind.

An interception from Rachel Fee provided Stars with another turnover and this time they made it stick. Stars shooter Grace Namana brought the game to within just one goal after sinking a composed long shot.

However, despite Stars’ best efforts, a late onslaught from the home side proved too much and allowed them to pull away and secure the three points, winning 57-51.