Celtic Flames captain Suzy Drane in action during the Super Club tournament, Credit: Michael Bradley Photography.
Celtic Flames, Wales’ brand new netball team, made a major impact in New Zealand’s first ever global Super Club competition.
Their Welsh players gained valuable experience and confidence in the build-up towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Flames, the only team from the Northern Hemisphere invited to compete, earned three wins from five matches and finished fifth ahead of all other international invited teams outside Australia and New Zealand.
The top four in Nelson, New Zealand were ANZ league teams Steel, Mystics, Pulse and Australia’s NSWIS.
“This was a fantastic opportunity and the squad embraced every moment of it,” said Welsh Netball chief executive Sarah Jones. “They not only learned and improved, but also came home with three wins out of five.
“This was a brave move to put these players in to a global environment, with daily Sky broadcasting, competing with some of the World’s best.
“This was about learning and growing and everyone present has done that over the last 10 days.
“Huge congratulations to head coach Trish Wilcox and the team for a successful week, and big thanks and congratulations to Nelson and Netball New Zealand for a successful inaugural Super Club.
“We’d also like to thank Sport Wales for their support, and to all the players’ sponsors who were behind our athletes every step of the way.”
Celtic Flames earned victories against the teams from Fiji, South Africa plus Trinidad and Tobago.
Flames defeated Gauteng Jaguars, the 2017 South African netball premier league champions, Fiji’s Marama Vou plus University of Trinidad and Tobago.
Marama Vou’s team includes several Fijian internationals and they are seventh to Wales’ eighth in the netball rankings.
Flames also dominated their match against Marama Vou team, who included several Fijian international players. Fiji are currently seventh to Wales’ eighth in the international netball rankings.
Wales international players in the Flames team benefitted hugely from exposure to international competition as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast next April.
Each Super Club team also enjoyed an allocated Community Day during the competition. The Celtic Flames athletes met young netball fans from the Nelson community while visiting one of the area’s most scenic spots at Abel Tasman National Park.
Celtic Flames results: Te Wananga o Raukawa Pulse 65, Flames 41; Flames 68, Marama Vou 41; SKYCITY Mystics 66, Flames 43; Flames 57, Gauteng Jaguars 45; Flames 62, University of Trinidad & Tobago 47.
Celtic Flames: Suzy Drane (supported by MSG Tours), Bethan Dyke (supported by Torfaen Leisure Trust), Clare Jones (supported by TPHS Limited), Kyra Jones (supported by Glamorgan Telecom), Nia Jones (supported by Chester Chain), Chelsea Lewis (supported by Islwyn Pugh Construction/GW Flooring Contract Services), Kelly Morgan (supported by Andy Lamb Media), Lois Rideout (supported by Balance Fitness), Eleanor Roberts (supported by Fostering Matters), and Georgia Rowe (supported by Miller Medical Supplies). Anna Thompson and Temalisi Fakahokotau also joined the Flames line-up directly from their ANZ season with the Silvermoon Tactix.
Celtic Flames management: Trish Wilcox (supported by Pro Steel Engineering), Mel Tuckwell (supported by USW), Donna Crossman (supported by Falconry Services Ltd.).
The following Flames players also received the honour of Most Valued Player, who each received a specially designed ring by Jens Hansen Jewellery: Chelsea Lewis, Kyra Jones, Temalisi Fakahokotau.
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