Dragons went into Round 3 of the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague looking to make amends for a disappointing opening weekend against Leeds Rhinos and Team Bath.
It was a great start for the Dragons defence as new defensive-duo Leila Thomas and Abby Tyrrell combined to put pressure on Sirens’ first shot, forcing the rebound out of court. Sirens responded with two quickfire goals but then suffered the loss of their starting GA Lynsey Gallagher to injury early in the quarter. An Abby Tyrrell interception gave Dragons a platform to take a bite back out of the opposition lead, however Sirens WD Taylor Cullen plagued the Dragons’ drive throughout the first quarter, providing her team’s attack with the ammunition to take a 5-goal lead. Dragons kept to their work however, and Laura Rudland teamed up with Amy Clinton to get it back within 3 in the final moments of the period.
An obstruction call early in the second quarter meant a loss of impetus for Dragons, however some patient build-up in midcourt allowed the team in green to steady the ship and get a score on the board. It was Sirens who looked the sharper as the period progressed, with Emma Barrie left totally unmarked for a long feed from a restart. Shona O’Dwyer coming on did make an impact however and Dragons focus on zonal marking helped Lucy Howells to force a turnover and interrupt Sirens’ flow. As a result, Dragons finished the half with a flourish – Amy Clinton standing rock steady with 100% shooting accuracy.
Being double marked was no bother to Clinton as she started the second half in the same strong form. Both sides traded blows, but gradually unforced errors from Dragons saw Sirens eek out a double-digit lead. Annika Lee-Jones came on at GK as Tania Hoffman looked to turn the tables and the Australian forced an immediate turnover. The continued dynamism of Tyrrell and Howells combined with Lee-Jones’ physicality shut Sirens out for extended periods, but they held on to their lead with the final 12 minutes still to come.
It was all about Abby Tyrrell in the final quarter as the defender made successive interceptions to help her team’s attempt to cut the deficit. Nevertheless, when Dragons looked to really be impressing themselves on the opposition an offside call saw the momentum swing in the other direction. With the game seemingly out of reach for Dragons in the final minutes, some scrappiness creeped in and the Scottish outfit were able to put the match to bed by recording a big fourth quarter score.
Despite the loss, Dragons should be buoyed by their performance. A rapid 24 turnaround now awaits the squad before a Round 4 clash against Surrey Storm.
Quarter Scores: 10-13 (10-13); 11-14 (21-27); 8-10 (29-37); 6-15 (35-52)