The Sunshine girls are heading to South Wales – and mid-court player Shona O’Dwyer is beaming her brightest smile after being signed by Celtic Dragons.
Rebekah Robinson and Latanya Wilson, both Sunshine Girls from Jamaica, have committed to Cardiff-based Vitality Netball Superleague club Dragons – and English-born O’Dwyer is delighted to join the team.
Dr Paula Daley-Morris, president of Netball Jamaica, has talked about Robinson, saying: “She is a goal attack and a highly accurate shooter.”
Dragons’ head coach Tania Hoffman says: “It was important to find a suitable replacement for Kalifa McCollin once we released her for an ANZ (New Zealand Netball Premiership) contract.
“Rebekah is a ready replacement with maturity and calmness in the circle. Rebekah’s experience with the Sunshine Girls will be invaluable during the season and we are delighted to have her sign with us.
“Latanya is an exciting young prospect from Jamaica’s Youth World Cup squad. Her natural athletic ability and reading of the game will complement the style of defence we have been striving to play at Dragons. Latanya will delight our fans with her energy on court.
“We are thrilled to have Shona sign for Dragons after an impressive European tournament with Wales under-21s.
“We can’t wait to see what she can do in the green dress this season. Shona is a great addition to our mid-court with the retirements of Kyra Jones and Suzy Drane.”
Both goal-attack Robinson, a 24-year-old who was in the Jamaican team who won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and defender Wilson featured for Dragons during their run to the semi-finals of the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship earlier this month.
O’Dwyer captained Wales under-21s at the Netball Europe under-21 Championship where she led the team to victories against Scotland and Northern Ireland, helping Wales towing the silver medal.
She joins Dragons from Severn Stars where she enjoyed a breakthrough season earlier in 2019.
Swindon-born O’Dwyer, who also played under-21 netball for England and won European gold before making the switch to Wales, played for Croft NC from the age of 13 before linking up with Hucclecote in Gloucester,
At 14-years-old O’Dwyer won the Swindon Division Two title with Croft before progressing to regional and national netball tournaments with Hucclecote’s National Premier Division Two team.
Former Gloucester University and Lydiard Park Academy student O’Dwyer, now aged 20, has also played at Team Bath and Severn Stars.
Vitality Netball Superleague squads for 2020 season
Celtic Dragons: Abby Tyrrell (GK, GD), Chelsea Lewis (GS), Dee Bolakoro (GD, GK), Leila Thomas (GD, GK), Amy Clinton (GS, GA), Paige Kindred (WD, GD, GK), Sophie Morgan (WA, C), Rebekah Robinson (GA), Latanya Wilson (GK, GD), Shona O’Dwyer (C, WA), Latanya Watson, Rebekah Robinson (GA)
Hertfordshire Mavericks: Chloe Essam (GS, GA), Jodie Gibson (WD, GD, GK), Gabby Marshall (WD, C), George Fisher (GA, GS), Razia Quashie (GD, GK), Jo Trip (GD, GK), Kadeen Corbin (GA, GS), Sasha Corbin (C, WA), Beth Ecuyer-Dale (C), Georgia Lees (WA)
London Pulse: Adean Thomas (C), Michelle Drayne (C, WD), Chloe Gregory (WA, C), Ashleigh Dekker (GA, GS), Sigi Burger (GA, GS), Chiara Semple (GA, GS), Olivia Tchine (GS, GA), Kira Rothwell (GA, GS), Kate Lloyd (GK, GD), Halimat Adio (GK, GD), Zara Everitt (GK, GD), Lindsay Keable (Gk), Funmi Fadoju (GK, GD)
Loughborough Lightning: Ella Clark (GS, GA), Sam May (GD, GK), Natalie Panagarry (C, WD), Hannah Joseph (C , WA), Ananbel Roddy (WD, GD, GK), Jaz Odeogberin (GD, GK), Lucy Parize (GA, GS)
Manchester Thunder: Laura Malcolm (C, WD, WA), Kathryn Turner (GA), Ash Neal (C, GA, WA), Eleanor Cardwell (GS, GA), Joyce Mvula (GS), Lauren Ngwira (GD, GK), Caroline O’Hanlon (C), Rebekah Airey (GK, WD, GK)
Severn Stars: Liana Leota (WA), Nia Jones (C, WD), Georgia Rowe (GS), Bethan Dyke (WA), Paige Reed (GS, GA), Lucy Harris (C), Ella Powell-Davies (WD, GD)
Strathclyde Sirens: Claire Maxwell (WD, C), Nicola McCleery (WA, C), Emily Nicholl (GD, WD), Gia Abernethy (WD, C), Emma Barrie (GS), Lynsey Gallagher (GS, GA, WA), Natalie Bright (GD, WD), Lauren Tait (GD, GK), Taylor Cullen (WD, WA), Beth Goodwin (GA, GS), Kelly Boyle (WA/WD)
Surrey Storm: Katy Hughes (WD, GD), Niamh Cooper (C), Leah Middleton (GD), Emily Gulvin (WA, C), Sophie Hankin (GS, GA), Alima Priest (GD, GK), Nicole Humphrys (WD, C)
Team Bath: Eboni Usuro-Brown (GD, GK) , Rachel Shaw (WA, GA), Mia Ritchie (C), Imogen Allison (WD, C), Abi Robson (WD, C), Fionnuala Toner (C, WD, GD), Kim Commane (GS), Khanyisa Chawane (C)
Wasps: Alexia Baker (GA), Jade Clarke (C, WD), Rachel Dunn (GS, GA), Hannah Knights (GD, GK), Tamsin Moala (GS, GA), Katie Harris (GA), Sienna Rushton (GA, GS), Fran Williams (WD, GD, GK), Iona Christian (C, WA), Josie Huckle (GD, GK), Amy Flanagan (WD, C), Sophia Candappa (C, WA)
Vitality Netball Superleague
Celtic Dragons fixtures 2020 (19 regular season rounds)
Saturday 22: Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm (Arena Birmingham, 12.45pm)
Saturday 29: Celtic Dragons v Team Bath (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Monday 9: London Pulse v Celtic Dragons (Copper Box Arena, 7pm)
Monday 16: Celtic Dragons v Strathclyde Sirens (Sports Wales National Centre, 7pm)
Saturday 21: Manchester Thunder v Celtic Dragons (Belle Vue, 5pm)
Saturday 28: Celtic Dragons v Saracens Mavericks (Sports Wales National Centre, 4pm)
Monday 6: Severn Stars v Celtic Dragons (Gloucester University, 7pm)
Friday 10: Loughborough Lightning v Celtic Dragons (Sir David Wallace Arena, 7pm)
Monday 13: Celtic Dragons v Loughborough Lightning (Sport Wales National Centre, 7pm)
Saturday 18: Surrey Storm v Celtic Dragons (Surrey Sports Park, 6pm)
Saturday 25: Celtic Dragons v Wasps (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Wednesday 29: Team Bath v Celtic Dragons (Team Bath Arena, 7.30pm)
Saturday 2: Celtic Dragons v London Pulse (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Saturday 9: Strathclyde Sirens v Celtic Dragons (Emirates Arena, 2pm)
Saturday 16: Celtic Dragons v Manchester Thunder (Sport Wales National Centre, 4pm)
Saturday 23: Saracens Mavericks v Celtic Dragons (Hertfordshire Sports Village, 4pm)
Saturday 30: Celtic Dragons v Severn Stars (Sport Wales National Centre, 4pm)
Saturday 6: Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm (Viola Arena, 4pm)
Monday 15: Wasps v Celtic Dragons (University of Warwick, 7pm)
Saturday 27: Knockout semi-finals (Venue to be confirmed)
Saturday 4: Grand final (Venue to be confirmed, 5.30pm)
Celtic Dragons have named their under-17 and under-19 age group squads for the new season.
“I’m really excited to begin the Celtic Dragons age group programme,” said Dragons coach Hoffman.
“For Celtic Dragons to be a force in the Superleague in coming years we need to work behind the scenes with our youth and this is the first step.
“I was impressed with the number of applications in our first year and it showed the appetite the next generation of athletes have to become elite netballers.”
Celtic Dragons under-19 squad: Cadie Baldwin (Ystrad Mynach), Amy Bradbury (Bridgend Bolts), Jessica Clode (Eastside), Grace Conolly (Leckwith), Esme Cornelius (Central Netball), Rhian Evans (Mumbles Treforus), Seren Evans (Leckwith), Nia Fishlock (Llanyrafon Ladies), Charlotte Lewis (Ystrad Mynach), Ellie-Rose Merriman (Tawe), Abbie Pattison (Cherubs Angels), Lowri Rowlands (Carmarthen), Isy Valentine (Almondsbury), Elkie Warlow (Leckwith).
Celtic Dragons under-17 squad: Tyla Johnson (Leckwith Eastside), Katy Brain (Dinas Devils), Carys Olivia Roy (Red Dragons), Niamh Sultana (Penarth All Stars), Iola-Belle Lake (Llantrisant), Ella Shields (Llantwit Fardre), Bella Jones (Mumbles Treforus), Georgia Hellerman (Dinas), Lara Watts (Llanwit Fardre), Megan Hadfield (Penarth All Stars), Nell Edwards (Treforus A), Lowri Clark (Dinas), Josie Bennett (Llantwit Fardre), Eloise Spacey (Trecelyn), Naomi Nowell (Mumbles Treforus), Lucy Scoble (Red Dragons).
Under 17 training partners: Ellie Thomas (Eastside), Ella Forsyth (Red Dragons), Lily-Anne Roberts (Aberavon Celtics).