Celtic Dragons hosted Vitality Superleague rivals London Pulse and Team Bath in a tri-tournament at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre.
The home team lost both of their matches, but Dragons wing-attack Sophia Morgan, from Brynford in Flintshire, said: “It was great to play against Bath and Pulse in pre-season fixtures.
“We ran through lots of combinations and there are a lot of positives to take through and work on over the next two weeks.
“A massive thank you to all the fans who were in Ebbw Vale to support us.”
Former Surrey Storm and Manchester Thunder player Morgan, who took a year out from Superleague netball in 2019, will be a key player for Dragons.
The tri-tournament comprised three matches, all with four 10 minutes quarters, and it provided Dragons with an excellent opportunity to expose the entire squad to high calibre opposition.
In the first game Dragons took on London Pulse. Last season, after losing to Pulse in a pre-season match, Dragons went on to complete a league double over the East London based team.
Pulse won 33-26 at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre despite a third period comeback by Dragons.
The Londoners then took on Team Bath, who swept into an early lead before Pulse hit back to make it 19-19. Bath, though, emerged 44-32 winners.
The last game of the day saw Dragons return to court against Team Bath. The home team started slowly, but the players in green roared into life in the second quarter, taking it 9-7.
Bath’s first quarter advantage was maintained, however, and the university-based side won 40-28.
The new Superleague season is less than a fortnight away. Dragons face Surrey Storm on Saturday, February 22 at the big season opener event in Arena Birmingham.
The Superleague season opener is expected to attract almost 9,000 spectators, the biggest ever crowd for a one-day event in UK netball history, exceeding even that of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup final day in July 2019 (7,233 attended the final in Liverpool).
🚨🚨 Season Opener 2020 is set to draw the largest crowd for a day event in UK netball history 🚨🚨
The size of the crowd is set to increase by 53% from the 2019 event, formerly known as Super 10.
— Vitality Netball Superleague (@NetballSL) February 11, 2020
All 10 Superleague teams will be at Arena Birmingham with 8,700 tickets already sold.
England Netball have confirmed that 98% of available tickets for the event have now been sold, an increase of 53 per cent from the 2019 event.
Strathclyde Sirens take on London Pulse in the first fixture of the day on February 22 followed by Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks v Severn Stars and Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning.
The final game of the day will see Wasps Netball face reigning champions Manchester Thunder.
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
FT | 🇳🇿 67-56 🇯🇲
But Dragons fans, how excited are you to see more of Wilson in action this season? 🐲 pic.twitter.com/KPDfb0LzEt
— Vitality Netball Superleague (@NetballSL) January 26, 2020
Celtic Dragons 26, London Pulse 33
Quarter scores (4 x 10min quarters, Dragons first): 6-9; 6-11 (12-20); 7-5 (19-25); 7-8 (26-33)
Celtic Dragons team: GS A Clinton; GA R Robinson (capt); WA S O’Dwyer; C P Kindred; WD L Howells; GD Dee Bolakoro; GK L Wilson
Replacements: L Burton, B Coleman, S Morgan, A O’Rourke, A Tyrrell.
London Pulse: GS S Burger; GA C Semple; WA A Thomas; C M Drayne; WD F Fadoju; GD A Halimat; GK K Lloyd
Replacements: A Dekker, L Keable, K Rothwell, O Tchine M Thompson.
Team Bath 44, London Pulse 32
Team Bath: GS K Commane; GA S Drakeford-Lewis; WA R Shaw; C M Ritchie; WD I Allison; GD F Toner; GK S Artman.
Replacements: K Chanane, B Creak, R Fee, T Pavelin, L Rudland
London Pulse: GS O Tchine; GA C Semple; WA A Thomas; C M Drayne; WD F Fadoju; GD L Keable; GK H Adio
Replacements: S Burger, A Dekker, K Lloyd, K Rothwell, M Thompson
Celtic Dragons 28, Team Bath 40
Quarter scores (4 x 10min quarters, Dragons first): 4-11; 9-7 (13-18); 7-11 (20-29); 8-11 (28-40)
Celtic Dragons: GS B Coleman; GA R Robinson; WA S Morgan (capt); C S O’Dwyer; WD P Kindred; GD A Tyrrell; GK D Bolakoro
Replacements: A Clinton, L Howells, E Michael, A O’Rourke, L Wilson.
Team Bath: GS K Commane; GA L Rudland; WA R Shaw; C K Chawane; WD F Toner; GD T Pavlin, GK S Artman
Replacements: S Drakeford-Lewis, R Fee, H Passmore, M Ritchie, A Robson.
— London Pulse Netball 💗🖤 (@Pulse_Netball) February 6, 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 (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)