Over 800 fans are set to descend on the new University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena as the venue brings the UK's highest level elite netball competition to Gloucester.
The Severn Stars netball team, who are co-owned by the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Worcester, will be playing their first Vitality Netball Superleague home game in Gloucester on Friday 25 January. Following an official opening of the new arena, which is located at Oxstalls Sports Park, the team will take on Welsh outfit Celtic Dragons (7.30pm centre pass) in front of a sell-out home crowd.
Severn Stars' Joint Director, Dr Anita Navin, can't wait to welcome spectators to the new arena. She said: “To have Superleague netball come to Gloucester is something I dreamt about when I moved into post at the University. Gloucestershire always fielded strong teams in the old county competition structure. Netball is so popular in the area and to have a sell-out crowd is amazing on this first match night."
Following a weeks' break for the international Netball Quad Series the Stars will be looking to be more ruthless with possession in front of a home crowd. After losing 52 - 44 to last year's Superleague finalists Loughborough Lightning in their second game of the season (Saturday 12 January) the Severn Stars' Head Coach, Sam Bird, said: “We need to be more ruthless with possession and punish opponents when we have the opportunity."
The Severn Stars will also be hoping to draw on the inside knowledge of Welsh international shooters Cara Lea Moseley and Georgia Rowe who joined the Stars from Celtic Dragons at the start of the 2019 campaign. Moseley has more than 50 caps for Wales, competing at both the 2007 and 2011 World Championships and 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games. South Wales-born Rowe represented Wales at the Netball World Cup in 2015 and made last year's Commonwealth Games squad.
Dr Anita Navin, who's also Head of the School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “Celtic Dragons will be a tough side to beat given their successful win against London Pulse. Having a little insight into the Welsh players through Georgia and Cara Lea will prove useful in our preparations. I know Sam Bird has been looking closely at all player strengths from the Celtic squad."
Navin added: “I can't wait to see the buzz and noise of a Gloucester crowd who are avid Severn Stars fans. We have so many of our membership schools attending on this first match who are so pleased top flight netball is on their doorstep. Our supporters are the 8th player and our players really thrive on the noise and cheers from the crowd. Bring your tambourine!"
The Severn Stars are a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire.
For tickets and fixture information visit the Severn Stars on Ticketline.
Image credit: Severn Stars player Cara Lea Moseley in action against Loughborough Lightning - photo taken by clivejonespr.com.