7th January 2013
The Celtic Dragons started their 2013 season at the weekend with the Cathedral City Fast Net Grand Prix in the Wright Robinson Arena in Manchester. The tournament saw all eight Superleague franchises going head to head in the shortened and more dynamic version of the game and the Dragons returned with a 5th place finish, repeating the success of last year.
It was a mixed bag of fortunes for the Dragons who were drawn in Group 1. Their first match against Team Northumbria resulted in a draw with the score at 27 all. However, a final shot from outside the circle by Shooter Emma Thomas which would have won the match by four points was disallowed due to the time on the clock.
The Dragons were left to regroup after Manchester Thunder stormed to victory with a 34-14 win, and a close fought match with Hertfordshire Mavericks saw the Dragons miss out by three points as Mavericks won the match 18-16. However, the Dragons had done enough to make the playoffs and they faced Surrey Storm in a bid to make the semi-finals.
It was the first time the team would face fellow Wales player and Ex Celtic Dragons attacker Sophie Morgan since she moved to the Surrey franchise in the autumn. The Dragons started the first quarter slowly, resulting in a seven point deficit to catch up on when the quarter came to an end. Although there were moments of fantastic netball from the Welsh side, particularly Chelsea Lewis’s shooting ability from outside the circle, the match finished with Storm winning 33-20.
Positively, all four young Dragons; Sioned Hiscocks, 19, Nia Jones, 20, Cathy Bastian, 19, and Bethan Dyke, 17, received their first cap and court time against the other Superleague franchises. In addition to this, new defender Lorraine Betsy also received her first cap since coming into the Welsh side.
Wales High Performance Coach and Celtic Dragons Coach Melissa Hyndman said ‘it’s been a long weekend, with some good results and fast netball. I’m pleased with how the teams performed. We played without our import players who arrive later in January, and it was a great experience for our new younger players. We’ve got great talent in this squad; I can’t wait for the Superleague season to start.’
The Celtic Dragons first home match is at the Sport Wales National Centre on February 16th at 7pm. Tickets are available via the website www.celticdragonsnetball.com