Celtic Dragons went down to Team Bath, 52-71 in their first home game of the 2020 Vitality Netball Superleague season in a match with no shortage of talking points.

Dragons made an extremely assertive start in the game, going ahead by four goals within the opening minutes. Last week’s Player of the Match, Latanya Wilson was in flying form, helping the Dragons take some stunning interceptions. Dragons had clearly caught Bath cold, but it didn’t take the visitors long to warm-up. Soon, teams were back at level pegging, but Brittany Coleman was able to stem Bath’s advance with a cool long-range effort. An interception for Abby Tyrrell helped Dragons to nose ahead late in the quarter but Bath remained clinical on their own centre pass and it was 13-all at the break.

Contact calls aplenty came in the second quarter. Dragons’ defence continued to really rattle the visitors but some mis-communication on the home team’s centre pass gave the Yellow and Blues some fodder to score from. Captain Sophie Morgan ensured that there was plenty of pace and panache in their drive and Amy Clinton enjoyed a great evening in front of the post. Both the crowd and the players on court seemed to think that a call for footwork was missed late in the quarter, and perhaps the team spent too long dwelling on this as Bath shot several successive goals to take advantage of Dragons’ lapse in concentration.

Despite this lead, it was an assertive start for Dragons in the third quarter – perhaps too assertive. As mentioned, the contact calls had been a feature of the match and eventually it was Latanya Wilson who seemingly had drawn too much attention to herself. The Jamaican defender was sent to the sin-bin for what in itself was a somewhat innocuous contact infringement. The crowd feared the worst, but Dragons were resolute in dealing with Wilson’s absence. In the blink of an eye she was back on court and only one goal’s difference added to Bath’s account. Dragons fans then had reason to be optimistic, however, Wilson, keen to maintain the home team’s defensive exuberance, was under the spotlight once again. A late attempt at an interception saw a flying arm catch a Bath player on the neck and so the officials had no option. Dragons were down to 6 for the remainder of the match.

From then, it was an uphill battle for the home side. Abby Tyrrell, Player of the Match, was like a rock on her own in defence, but against a talented outfit such as Team Bath there was only so much she could do. Dragons fought to the end but ultimately Bath were able to extend their lead and seal a second win in this year’s league.

Player of the Match: Abby Tyrrell

Celtic Dragons: Amy Clinton, Brittany Coleman, Sophie Morgan, Shona O’Dwyer, Paige Kindred, Abby Tyrrell and Latanya Wilson. Bench: Eleri Michael, Annie O’Rourke and Rebekah Robinson.

13-13 (13-13); 12-19 (25-32); 15-16 (40-48); 12-23 (52-71)