The Welsh players gather before their win against Grenada.

Cardiff Met’s Suzy The Ton-Up Queen Of Welsh Netball

St Asaph-born Suzy Drane, the current golden girl of Welsh netball, is 101 not out.

Drane, a full-time lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has powered past the century landmark in senior international appearances for Wales – and is closing in on record holder Helen Weston.

Wales completed their summer Test series in Cardiff with four successive victories, beating Malawi 52-47, Trinidad and Tobago 72-64 plus Grenada 72-53 and 81-53.

That’s a whopping 277 goals and Drane, who made her international debut in 2005 against Jamaica, played a major role in those wins.

Only two players have made more than 100 senior matches for Wales – Cwmbran’s Weston, now retired, is on 111 and Drane, still a key player for her country and Celtic Dragons, is on 101.

The 32-year-old Drane has played in three World Cups and three Commonwealth Games.

https://twitter.com/ITVWales/status/1148984075438497792

The Wales team have been playing in a six-test summer series with notable wins over Malawi and Trinidad & Tobago – who both have higher world rankings.

“The game has changed over the 15 years that I’ve been involved and netball is at a place now where it is really starting to move forward and gain some pace,” said Drane.

Her family moved from St Asaph to the Chester area in 1997 and they still live in the village of Waverton.

Former Christleton High School pupil and Chester Netball Club player Drane became a lecturer at Cardiff Met following the completion of a BSc and MSc in Sport Development and Physical Activity and Health at the university.

The Welsh squad played six matches in seven days while hosting the Summer Test series with fixtures played at the Viola Arena in Cardiff Bay and Sport Wales National Centre.

Wales ended the Summer series with a thumping 81-53 win against Grenada at SWNC.

Head coach Julie Hoornweg’s side had beaten Grenada 72-53 the previous evening.

Presentation time for Suzy Drane when she passed the century landmark for Wales.

In the second clash with Grenada, Wales led 20-14 after the first quarter and turned the screw to finish the half with a 44-23 advantage.

That was the cue for Brooke Collett to go on and earn her first Wales cap.

Wales stretched away to lead 64-37and finished convincing winners.

Nantyglo netball ace Collett, who plays for Ystrad Mynach Netball Club, is a mid-court competitor and was one of six players to make their debut for Wales during the summer series.

“Brooke is a small, but dynamic goal-defence/wing-defence who loves to time her leads to take exciting intercepts,” says Wales coach Hoornweg.

Collett, who started playing the sport when she was an 11-year-old pupil at Blaen-y-cwm primary in Brynmawr, captained the Swansea University team before entering a career in finance. 

Suzy Drane.

The former Newbridge club player represented Wales under-19 at Netball Europe in Dublin during 2008 and has now stepped up to the senior squad.

Grenada’s team included shooter Lottysha Cato, a 6ft 6ins professional player who played for Celtic Dragons in Britain’s Superleague a few seasons ago and helped the Welsh club finish fifth.

The century landmark achieved by Drane made it a double celebration for Wales when it was announced that former Welsh international Liz Nicholl has been elected president of the International Netball Federation.

Nicholl is stepping down this summer from her role as UK Sport chief executive after eight years at the organisation. She will take over from Molly Rhone as INF president at the end of the Netball World Cup on July 21.

Wales (v Grenada, Wednesday): GS Georgia Rowe, GA Eleanor Roberts, WA Suzy Drane, C Bethan Dyke, WD Nia Jones, GD Leila Thomas, GK Betsy Creak. Reps: Sara Bell, Brooke Collett, Lucy Howells, Kyra Jones & Chantelle Walker Jones.

Wales react to the spectators at the Sport Wales National Centre.

Grenada: GS Lottysha Cato, GA Renisha Stafford, WA Cecile Roberts, C Tiffany Frederick, WD Arissa Edgehill, GD Densie Cameron, GK Shakira Fortune. Reps: Carlene Alexander, Nazin Francis, Ann Lewis, Taheraw McDonald & Sabrina Sylvester.

Full Wales squad Wales: Cathy Bastian (Dinas), Sara Bell (Central), Catrin Bowen (Cowbridge), Betsy Creak (Bristol Romans), Brooke Collett (Ystrad Mynach), Suzy Drane (Celtic Dragons), Bethan Dyke (Celtic Dragons), Kyra Jones (Celtic Dragons), Nia Jones (Celtic Dragons), Lydia Hitchings (Celtic Dragons), Lucy Howells (Celtic Dragons), Eleanor Roberts (Celtic Dragons), Georgia Rowe  (Severn Stars), Leila Thomas (Team Bath), Chantelle Walker Jones (Central).

Summer Test series results in Cardiff

July 

Thursday 4 Wales 32, South Africa 84

Friday 5 Wales 44, South Africa 79

Saturday 6 Northern Ireland 49, Trinidad and Tobago 49

Saturday 6 Wales 52, Malawi 47

Sunday 7 Malawi 53, Northern Ireland 37

Sunday 7 Wales 72, Trinidad and Tobago 64

Monday 8 Malawi 53, Trinidad and Tobago 52

Tuesday 9 Wales 72, Grenada 53

Wednesday 10 Wales 81, Grenada 53

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