Celtic Dragons dominate on home soil but unable to secure the result.

Celtic Dragons returned to round 9 of the 2018 Vitality Netball Superleague action as eleven of the squad had return from the recent Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast eager to kick start the action back in the domestic league. Early encounters and great composure in attack coupled with fantastic team pressure throughout the court saw the dragons take an early 7-5 lead. Defensive pressure was key from the Dragons in the first quarter with all seven players making it difficult for the Northumbria attack. Turnover ball was rewarded when Georgia Rowe sunk a mid-range shot to make it 10 – 8 to Dragons. A narrow margin at the end of the first quarter saw Dragons going into the break leading 15-13.

Dragons kept an unchanged side leading into the second quarter with changes made to the Team Northumbria line up who were unable to cope with Georgia Rowe’s dominate display in attack during the first quarter. Dragons defence worked tirelessly throughout court to turnover ball with welcomed applause from the crowd with both Rowe and Moseley converting to push ahead to a four-goal lead. Dragons settled into their game plan with Northumbria unable to upset the movement of the ball through court allowing Dragons to further the score line to 7 goals at half time.

The second half began with again an unchanged line up for Dragons who came flying out of the blocks, turning over ball to push on to a 32-26 score line. However, it wasn’t long before Team Northumbria pressured the dragons attack, making the dragons work hard to secure ball on their attacking centres. Team Northumbria’s defence stepped up making the dragons struggle to find space and penetrate the attacking third. Varey was replaced for Llewelyn to try and move the Northumbria defence but a series of loose possession allowed Team Northumbria to start clawing the score back to a 4-goal deficit.

It was during the last quarter that Team Northumbria seemed to come to life, a series of turnover balls from dragon’s mistakes quickly allowed Team Northumbria back into the game levelling the scores. Dragons were struggling to find space and penetrate through court coupled with some lose passes and contact calls provided Team Northumbria with the opportunity to pull ahead for the first time in the match. Team Northumbria showed a clinical edge to pull away to a 49-44 goal lead. Dragon needed to do something different so Varey returned to Court with Llewelyn moving to GA and Moseley taking over at GS from Rowe. With just five minutes left on the clock the dragons players continued to fight narrowing the score line to four before N Jones was replaced by Thomas in the final few minutes. Unfortunately, after dominating the majority of the match the dragons couldn’t reduce the score line and Team Northumbria leave Cardiff with their first Vitality Netball Superleague win of the season.

Player of the Match: Kyra Jones, Celtic Dragons Centre

15-13 / 29-22 / 42-38 / 51-56

Celtic Dragons: G Rowe, CL Moseley, A Varey, K Jones, S Drane [C], N Jones & K Morgan. Replacements: S Bell, F Davies, S Llewelyn, E Roberts & L Thomas