Celtic Dragons take on another tough test in Cardiff on Monday when title-chasing Manchester Thunder come to Wales.
Captain Nia Jones and her Dragons will be fired up for the Vitality Netball Superleague challenge after running leaders and reigning champions Wasps close in their last match.
Green Army fans turned out in force for the clash with Wasps and Jones hailed the ‘amazing atmosphere’ at the Sport Wales National Centre.
Dragons produced a gritty and intense performance against Wasps and are keen to build on that when they take on Thunder in Cardiff (7pm).
The Welsh team have earned two Superleague wins this season and their new-look roster includes players from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Fiji, England, Australia and Wales.
— Celtic Dragons (@celtic_dragons) February 22, 2019
Stacian Facey and Dee Bolakoro have been outstanding, while Suzy Drane has been hugely effective in mid-court.
Head coach Tania Hoffman and her team are growing in confidence and belief, working to make further progress after each match.
Manchester Thunder suffered their first defeat of the season last time out against a persistent Loughborough Lightning.
The two rivals clashed in last season’s play-off semi-final when Thunder were edged out.
Head Coach Karen Greig was disappointed with Thunder’s performance against Lightning, saying: “Overall the performance wasn’t good enough but, if you don’t lose you don’t learn. We can take a lot from that.
“Credit to Loughborough, they ran our attack and we didn’t adapt at times.
— Kyra Jones (@kyrajones09) February 21, 2019
“We had opportunities in the fourth to draw level. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t meant to be.”
Celtic Dragons: Stacian Facey, Dee Bolakoro, Nia Jones, Kyra Jones, Suzy Drane, Kalifa McCollin, Chelsea Lewis, Lucy Howells, Lucy Herdman, Abby Tyrrell, Clare Elsey, Eleanor Roberts.
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 v Manchester Thunder (home, 7pm)
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)
Severn Stars 56, Strathclyde Sirens 37
Severn Stars turned on a ruthless first half display to silence Strathclyde Sirens.
The team made the long journey to Glasgow in search of a win to put their season back on track.
Head Coach, Sam Bird, was full of praise for her team, saying: “Our first half was outstanding.
“We have talked about trusting our game plan and sticking to structures. I saw that from every single one of them.”
The relentless scoring of Stars’ 6ft 5ins Welsh international Georgia Rowe, a former Dragons player, was a big factor in their win.
Rowe converted 49 goals out of 51 attempts on the night.
As well as end-to-end netball action, you can meet our players after every game for selfies and autographs! 🖊️🤳
Monday we take on @thundernetball at 7pm so don't miss out… 😎
(C) Sporting Wales pic.twitter.com/qejgP07IG2
— Celtic Dragons (@celtic_dragons) February 23, 2019
Team Bath 46, Wasps 57
Bath twice held Team Bath three-goal advantages, leading 6-3 and 9-6, but former Blue & Gold shooter Rachel Dunn was in excellent form again at the other end and the first quarter ended 11-11.
Wasps edged ahead for the first time two minutes into the second period and capitalised on their advantage ruthlessly, rapidly extending their advantage to 18-12 as they moved the ball with speed and precision.
Team Bath were struggling to find a route into the shooting circle and became more frustrated as an increasingly feisty, physical quarter went on. At one stage they were only able to score once in response to 13 goals from Wasps as the visitors piled on the pressure.
Bath worked their way back and when Kim Commane came off the bench the hosts scored four unanswered goals to close the gap to 28-18 going into the break.
Team Bath carried the momentum into the third period and, with Chartie Curtis on at GD, continued cutting into Wasps lead, scoring five of the first six goals.
Wasps restored their 10-goal advantage going into the final 15 minutes, but the Blue & Gold rallied once again and, with player of the match Commane in fantastic shooting form, they halved the lead to just five goals.
Wasps were able to hold them at bay before using their experience and quality to pull away again in the closing stages to record an impressive victory.
Team Bath Netball starting 7: GS Beryl Friday, GA Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, WA Rachel Shaw, C Mia Ritchie, WD Imogen Allison, GD Eboni Usoro-Brown, GK Summer Artman. Bench: Chartie Curtis, Leila Thomas, Abi Robson, Laura Rudland, Kim Commane.
Wasps Netball starting 7: GS Rachel Dunn, GA Katie Harris, WA Bongi Msomi, C Jade Clarke, WD Amy Flanagan, GD Hannah Knights, GK Josie Huckle. Bench: Sophia Candappa, Chloe Essam, Sam May, Tamsin Moala, Fran Williams.
Other result this weekend: Surrey Storm 50, Loughborough Lightning 66.
Superleague fixtures on Monday, February 25: Saracens Mavericks v London Pulse, Celtic Dragons v Manchester Storm (both 7pm).
The Vitality Netball Superleague grand final will return to Copper Box Arena on Saturday, May 18 and tickets are on sale at tickets.englandnetball.co.uk.
In the 2018 Grand Final, Wasps beat Loughborough Lightning 55-51 in a hotly contested match to secure back-to-back titles.
VITALITY SUPERLEAGUE 2019