The first home game of the 2023 NSL season for the Bartercard Surrey Storm was a thrilling encounter against the Severn Stars.
In the opening quarter, Peace opened the scoring with confidence, only for Stars’ Sigi Burger to reply at the other end. The away side started the game physically inside the circle with Tripp and Herdman making it difficult for the home side to penetrate.
Storm quickly adjusted and capitalised on a stars missed shot to level the score at 6-6. Despite Herdman being assigned to cover the reigning NSL top goal scorer, Drakeford-Lewis was left to roam free and found joy from feeds off Austin to find the net. As the quarter progressed, Storm started to open up a lead, forcing the Stars to throw long bombs to Burger which proved unsuccessful. Storm punished each mistake, finishing the quarter 21-13.
In the second quarter, Airey entered the game at GD, and Tripp shifted to GK. The Stars were first on the board in this quarter, but they struggled to convert their chances, keeping the score at an 8-point differential. Momentum shifted after a missed shot by Namana, with Amy Flanagan darting in for an interception and increasing the score to 10. Guscoth followed with another interception, getting the crowd cheering. Stars’ heads started to drop heading into the half, as the Storm led.
In the third quarter, Austin came ourt the game with Flanagan stepping in at C, Kwangwa came on at GD and Guscoth shifted to WD. Storm’s Layla Guscoth pressured the Stars’ WA, making it very difficult for them to get out of the centre pass. A bright spark for Stars was seeing 17-year-old Lily Summersmith making her NSL debut for the away side and proving her talent by finding the net without hesitation. Knights replaced Middleton as the score stood at 54-36.
In the final quarter, Brooks replaced Sophia Candappa for the Storm, while Airey entered at WD and Jess Haynes at GD for the Stars. Storm was in full control of the game and played with finesse and poise throughout the quarter. Guscoth continued to hunt in the mid-court, taking anything out of the air that came her way. Despite the Stars battling until the end, the Storm continued to pile on the points, putting a stamp on the game as the away side were unable to answer. The match ended with a 76-51 in favour of Bartercard Surrey Storm.