Saturday 19th March Manchester Thunder arrived in Sport Wales National Centre with both their NPL and NSL squads.
The evening started with our Junior Dragons playing Manchester’s juniors. Despite a brave performance by the junior Dragons, the young Thunder team were just too strong for them winning the game 72 – 36 goals.
At 7.00pm the Celtic Dragons were led onto court by the captain Suzy Drane in front of a very vocal home crowd. First quarter was close with a goal being scored by Thunder just as the quarter ended to make it even at quarter break.
Changes for the Dragons going into the second quarter are Emma Thomas to Goal Attack and Becky Oatley to Goal Defence. The first 5 minutes of the quarter it is goal for goal when Dragons under increased defensive pressure from Thunder made several passing errors to allow Thunder to take a 6 goal lead. An injury time call stoppage from Emma Thomas sees Afa return to the court, however at the end of the second quarter there is still a 6 goal deficit ,23-29.
Kelly Morgan comes back onto court for the third quarter at GD also The Dragons work tirelessly putting great defensive pressure on the Thunder attack and go into the quarter break 37 – 43 having drawn this quarter.
Excitement builds for the final quarter, the green army crowd calling for the Dragons to keep going and they do. With 5 minutes remaining Trish Wilcox makes changes with Suzy Drane moving to Centre and Mel Steingass coming on to WD. Dragons turn over ball and lift their intensity and defensive pressure outscoring Thunder in the last 8 mins. 8 goals to 1 finishing the game strongly but just running out of time, Thunder take the win by a narrow margin of 3 goals! Final score 51-54.
Head Coach Trish Wilcox post match commented “We went into this game with high confidence and knew if we were consistent with our processes and stuck to our game plan we could win this game. Apart from a five minute lapse in the 2nd qtr which resulted in Thunder taking a 6 goal lead I thought we achieved this. I was proud of the way the team fought back in the last quarter to come back from a 10 goal deficit and we will take this in this into the next game. “
A big thank you to our volunteers from Eastside Netball Club.
Congratulations to Afa the Celtic Dragon Player of the match presented by Wendy Presdee and sponsored by ANT.
Our birthday girl was Nia Morgan from Llanelli Blues netball club.