Player of the match Nia Jones thanked Green Army fans after Celtic Dragons suffered a 61-49 Vitality Netball Superleague home defeat against benecosMavericks in their opening match of the season.
“It was sweet to be back at Sport Wales National Centre with my fellow Greenies,” tweeted Jones.
“Our second quarter performance let us down tonight, but the crowd were bang on, Diolch. The only way is up.”
Captain Suzy Drane went on for the third quarter along with Georgia Rowe and Megan Powell, while Jones switched to goal-defence.
“We were competitive for three quarters,” said Drane. “It was great to be back with the #GreenArmy.”
Mavericks took control in the second, winning it 18-11 to open a big lead.
The next match for Dragons is against Team Bath at the Sport Wales National Centre on Monday (February 19, 7.30pm).
Interim coach Natalie Pepperell is now intent on preparing her team for a big performance against Bath and said: “These girls have been through the mill a bit, so it’s a case now of them feeling that they’ve got nothing to lose.
“We put out a good performance tonight, there’s obviously inconsistencies, the second quarter we dropped it a little bit but overall I’m pleased.”
This was Dragons first game since head coach Trish Wilcox left her job last month and they finished strongly against the Hertfordshire-based Mavericks.
The Welsh team were edged out 16-15 in the third quarter, while they won the final period 16-13. They will take positives from the character and spirit they showed in battling back.
Goal-shooter Karyn Bailey was Mavericks player of the game, returning 96 per cent shooting stats,
Coach Kathryn Ratnapala and her team were 14-11 after the first, while Dragons struggled in the second and they were 32-18 down at half-time.
Quarter scores (Dragons first): 11-14; 7-18 (18-32); 15-16 (33-48); 16-13 (49-61).
Celtic Dragons: GS Cara Lea Moseley, GA Sarah Llewellyn, WA Bethan Dyke, C Kyra Jones, WD Nia Jones, GD Leila Jones, GK Kelly Morgan. Replacements: Sara Bell, Suzy Drane (capt), Megan Powell, Georgia Rowe, Amanda Varey.
benecosMavericks: GS Karyn Bailey, GA Alice Travis, WA Sasha Corbin (capt), C Michelle Drayne, WD Zara Everitt, GD Lindsay Keable, GK Summer Artman. Replacements: Steph Collard, Clare Drakeford, Gaby Marshall, Kalifa McCollin, Frankie Wells.
Vitality Netball Superleague results from week one of the season: Team Northumbria 39, Team Bath 52; Severn Stars 47, Manchester Thunder 48; Loughborough Lightning 55, UWS Sirens 44; Wasps Netball 68, Surrey Storm 43; Celtic Dragons 49, benecosMavericks 61.
Saturday, February 17: Severn Stars v Wasps Netball (6pm), Team Northumbria v Loughborough Lightning (6pm).
Monday, February 19: Celtic Dragons v Team Bath (7pm), Manchester Thunder v UWS Sirens (7pm), benecosMavericks v Surrey Storm (7.30pm).