Mon Feb 19 2018 – Celtic Dragons v Team Bath – Report by W. H. Rees

Celtic Dragons came onto court at the Sport Wales National Centre with a point to prove in Round 2 of the 2018 Vitality Netball Superleague and made an immediate impression, going up by 3 goals after about five minutes. The quarter was fiercely contested between both teams and it was level pegging for much of the time before the visitors found some fluency to lead 15-11 at the break.

The second quarter saw a more physical edge to the contest with both teams giving as good as they got. Celtic Dragons were penalised for holding on and that opportunity saw Team Bath move further ahead as the period wore on. Player of the Match, Kelly Morgan, was able to do some excellent work to disrupt the visitor’s attack and then Kyra Jones came on to give the players in green a fresh boost of energy. As a result, Dragons clawed back a bit of the gap and Bath’s lead was still in a manageable place.

After half time, Bath’s Layla Guscoth made an excellent interception and Bath started to show the form that has given them the early lead in this year’s league. Both teams played with a mesmerising flare and athleticism as Kyra Jones looked explosive in the centre. Dragons utilised their full range of shooting options with Georgia Rowe, Cara Lea Moseley and Eleanor Roberts all having contributed at this point.

The final quarter opened with Bath maintaining a 9-goal lead and so there was plenty to play for. The visitors had the upper hand initially before play was interrupted when captain Suzy Drane took a tumble and was replaced by Clare Jones. Once play resumed it proved to be a far from fruitful final quarter for the home side as they ultimately succumbed to a 54-35 defeat.

Despite the result, it was certainly an improved performance from Celtic Dragons. The lapses in concentration that had affected them last week were far fewer however vice-captain Kelly Morgan was keen to see further improvements.

Morgan said: “I think we could have done more to stop some their runs in the game, but credit to the defenders in front of me who helped get us some turnovers at the back.

“We’re not going to be complacent this season and we’re not going to think ‘oh it’s ok, they’re one of the better teams’ we’re here to compete with the best.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s away clash with Loughborough Lightning, Morgan added: “We’re looking forward to getting our first away game under our belt and we’re improving each time.”

Player of the Match: Kelly Morgan, Celtic Dragons GK

Full time – Celtic Dragons: 35 Team Bath: 54

11-15 (11-15); 8-12 (19-27); 8-9 (27-36); 8-18 (35-54)

Celtic Dragons: G Rowe, CL Moseley, B Dyke, A Varey, S Drane [C], N Jones & K Morgan [v/C]. Reps: S Bell, C Jones, K Jones, E Roberts, & L Thomas

Team Bath: C Lewis, K Corbin, R Shaw, M Ritchie, I Allison, L Guscoth, E Beckford-Chambers [C]. Reps: S Drakeford-Lewis, A Francis, N Pavelin, P Reed & J Shaw.