New Signings for Severn Stars Target Top Place Finish

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Severn Stars has secured two South African internationals ahead of the new Superleague season.

Maryka Holtzhausen and Phumza Maweni, currently on international duty playing in the Fast5 World Series this weekend (October 28 and 29), say the team has the potential to compete with the best in the league and are aiming for a minimum top four finish.

Both currently play in their native South Africa; Holtzhausen for Free State Crinums and Maweni with Western Cape Stings.

But they are no strangers to the Superleague, both having played for Loughborough Lightning in 2015 and for Stars in the recent British Fast5 All-Stars Championship.

Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire, made their debut in the Superleague last season and Holtzhausen said she had watched the team’s progress.

“It’s a good up and coming club and I’m excited about the players that are in our team,” said Holtzhausen, 30, of Bloemfontein, Free State.

“We played pretty well in the Fast5 after just one training session so the possibilities and expectations are pretty high.

“We know in this league there’s not a team which you can underestimate or take lightly. We will need to play our best every game.

“But if you don’t like it tough you’re probably not going to compete at the highest level.”

Maweni, 33, from Cape Town, said: “I’m really happy – I think it’s going to be a great experience on and off the court.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s not going to be easy – you have to fight for it.”

The pair played in the recent Quad Series against England, New Zealand and Australia and are currently playing for their country in Melbourne.

If selected, they will play for South Africa in the Quad Series in January before joining the Stars squad for pre-season training.

Holtzhausen, a 5ft 11in goal attack, said she believes her quick hands and feet and calmness under pressure will prove an asset to the team’s style of play, while goal keeper Maweni believes her 6ft 2in height will put goal shooters under pressure.

“I’m looking forward to being coached by Sam [Bird] and also having Pamela [Cookey] on the team – she’s a great icon, especially in the goal attack position, so that’s a great positive,” added Holtzhausen.

“I hope this will help me progress as a player in preparation for the Commonwealth Games next year.

“It’s a much more competitive league than we get back home. No netball player in South Africa would let an opportunity like this pass them by.”

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