Celtic Dragons are ready to storm into the new Vitality Netball Superleague season in front of a sell-out crowd at Arena Birmingham this afternoon.
Cardiff-based Dragons play Surrey Storm in their opening fixture of the 2020 season and defender Abby Tyrrell says: “The mood and vibe in our squad is really good, like family.
“We are all excited about the new season, we’ve been training hard and feeling fit.
“Our aim is to keep improving through every match and through the whole season.”
Jamaican players Rebekah Robinson and Latanya Wilson add an extra touch of sunshine to the Dragons.
Thanks @ONeills1918 💚🇮🇪
— Celtic Dragons (@celtic_dragons) February 22, 2020
They have been welcomed into the group and shooter Wilson said: “All the players bonded well. Training has been intense and that has helped bring its closer.”
Today’s opponents Surrey Storm finished just below Dragons in Superleague last season, while both teams showed promise during the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship in October and reached the semi-finals.
The Superleague season opener features all 10 clubs at Arena Birmingham. It is the 15th ‘opening weekend’ in the league’s history.
Dragons v Storm is the second fixture of the day, following Strathclyde Sirens v London Pulse.
Almost 9,000 spectators will be at Arena Birmingham, the highest attendance for a day event in UK netball history.
The event is sold out with sales increased by more than 50 per cent from 2019.
— Celtic Dragons (@celtic_dragons) February 21, 2020
The season opener has seen higher ticket sales than the Vitality Netball World Cup final day when 7,233 attended in Liverpool.
Fixtures: Strathclyde Sirens v London Pulse, Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks v Severn Stars, Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning, Wasps Netball v Manchester Thunder.
Celtic Dragons’ first home game against Team Bath next Saturday (February 29) has been moved to a new venue.
The game will now be played at Archers Arena in Cardiff Metropolitan University (Cyncoed Campus) with a 6.30pm start.
Celtic Dragons 2020 Squad:
Shooters: Amy Clinton, Rhian Evans, Brittany Coleman, Rebekah Robinson
Midcourt: Sophie Morgan, Shona O’Dwyer, Paige Kindred, Eleri Michael, Laura Burton
Defence: Dee Bolakoro, Abby Tyrrell, Latanya Wilson, Lucy Howells, Annie O’Rourke
— Tamsin Greenway (@tamsingreenway) February 20, 2020
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 (Archers Arena in Cardiff Metropolitan University Cyncoed Campus, 6.30pm)
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)