Bethan Dyke returned to action for Celtic Dragons during their Vitality Netball Superleague match against Manchester Thunder in Cardiff.
Wales international Dyke, from Bridgend, has been out of action for 10 months since suffering ligament damage during the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Dragons coach Tania Hoffman sent Dyke on during the fourth quarter in front of a packed Sport Wales National Centre, taking over from Kyra Jones.
The Welsh team crashed to a 83-56 defeat against title-chasing Manchester Storm, who have won five of their opening six Superleague fixtures this season.
Dyke, a 24-year-old born on Christmas Day in 1994, had surgery after torn anterior cruciate ligaments brought ended her participation at the Commonwealth Games.
Despite a fourth quarter nightmare for the Dragons, yesterday's captain @kalifa_forever was razor sharp at goal throughout the match, scoring 2️⃣2️⃣ from 2️⃣2️⃣#WeAreDragons 💚 pic.twitter.com/Z1tW68NMsc
— Celtic Dragons (@celtic_dragons) February 26, 2019
She has represented Wales Netball at under-17, u-19 and u-21 levels, made her first senior appearance aged 19 in 2014 and has earned 37 international caps.
Bethan and her teenage sister Chloe started playing netball at Litchard Junior School and then Penybont Dragons and Cowbridge NC.
Celtic Dragons captain Nia Jones missed the clash with Thunder and that allowed Dyke to take her place in the match day 12.
Kalifa McCollin was captain for the match and led the team with a 100 per cent shooting record, scoring 22 goals from 22 attempts.
Suzy Drane started in flying form as she looked to expose space around the court. Indeed, Dragons took a lead in the first quarter with a Dee Bolakoro interception.
However, the visitors soon cut out the errors and while the Dragons looked to maintain a fast tempo, their inaccuracies cut deep in the quarter and Thunder took a handsome eight goal lead.
In tight and fiercely contested second and third quarters, Dragons matched the away team and were edged out by one goal each time.
Thunder stepped up the pressure in the final 15 minutes, powering to a 25-8 advantage and completing a convincing match win.
Manchester were in ruthless mood following their loss to Loughborough in their previous fixture.
Thunder made a strong start, with WA Liana Leota showing bags of pace around Dragons circle. However, Dragons tightened up in defence and Lucy Howells took to court at WD to inject some extra energy.
The crowd increased their vocal support, while Kyra Jones, Chelsea Lewis and McCollin worked well in sharing the attacking load, with some great movement around the circle.
Dragons were focused and clinical Dragons in the third. Dee Belakoro and Stacian Facey swapped positions in defence in a bid to disrupting what was a highly clinical Thunder drive.
Dragons seemed to switch off following a raft of substitutions and Thunder extended their lead.
Shooter, Joyce Mvula was awarded player of the match by the home side and Manchester coach Karen Greig said: “Joyce was unbelievable, a really good performance from her under pressure in the circle.
“We scored 25 goals in the final quarter which shows what we’ve got in our locker in terms of the changes that we can make.
Quarter Scores: 13-21 (13-21); 20-21 (33-42) 15-16 (48-58) 8-25 (56-83)
Dragons travel to play Surrey Storm on Saturday, while Thunder are away against Team Bath on Friday, March 1.
Starting 7s and replacements:
Dragons: GK Stacian Facey, GD Dee Bolakoro, WD Clare Elsley, C Kyra Jones, WA Suzy Drane, GA Kalifa McCollin (capt), GS Chelsea Lewis. Replacements: Bethan Dyke, Lucy Herdman, Lucy Howells, Ellie Nawele, Abby Tyrrell.
Manchester Thunder: GS Joyce Mvula, GA Kathryn Turner, WA Lliana Leota, C Amy Carter, WD Laura Malcolm, GD Emma Dovey, GK Kerry Almond. Replacements: Rebekah Airey, Eleanor Cardwell, P Kindred, Maria McAndrew, Caroline O’Hanlon
Monday night Superleague results: Saracens Mavericks 65, London Pulse 37; Celtic Dragons 56, Manchester Thunder 83.
Celtic Dragons TICKETS
Dragons results/fixtures 2019 – home games played at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.
Celtic Dragons 41, Team Bath 58
Saturday 12 London Pulse 40, Celtic Dragons 67
Friday 25 Severn Stars 57, Celtic Dragons 40
Monday 4 Celtic Dragons 44, Saracens Mavericks 66
Friday 8 Strathclyde Sirens 46, Celtic Dragons 50
Monday 18 Celtic Dragons 46, Wasps 58
Monday 25 Celtic Dragons 56, Manchester Thunder 83
Saturday 2 v Surrey Storm (away, 6pm)
Saturday 9 v Loughborough Lightning (home, 4pm)
Saturday 16 v Team Bath (away, 5pm)
Monday 25 v London Pulse (home, 7pm)
Saturday 30 v Severn Stars (home, 4pm)
Saturday 6 v Manchester Storm (away, 5pm)
Saturday 3 v Strathclyde Sirens (home, 4pm)
Saturday 20 v Saracens Mavericks (away, midday)
Sunday 21 v Wasps (away, midday)
Saturday 27 v Surrey Storm (home 4pm)
Saturday 4 Loughborough Lightning v Celtic Dragons (6pm)
For home match ticket information click on the Dragons name Celtic Dragons
VITALITY SUPERLEAGUE 2019