In the first quarter, Layla Guscoth turned the ball over and Storm transitioned down the court for Proscovia Peace to sink the first goal of the game. Storm converted again followed by an Amy Flanagan interception. The home side went 3-0 up but Dragons found new singing Rachel Dunn, who is familiar with the Surrey Sports Park Arena, sank her first two shots of the game. Storm were looking very strong in their FCP defence and Flanagan darted through with another interception. The athleticism and length of Guscoth and Leah Middleton made it very difficult for Dragons to feed the circle and Storm jumped out to an 8-2 lead.
Dunn made her classic move around the post using her movement to her advantage, which allowed the ball to be sent to her without defensive pressure. Storm tightened up defensively and caused a held ball at a Dragons centre pass. Guscoth got called for contact, which allowed Dunn to shoot and score. Captain Yasmin Brookes worked hard, receiving three consecutive passes before sending to Mikki Austin, who fed Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (SDL) successfully to score. Towards the end of the opening quarter a quick change of possession as the ball went out of court, Peace leaped to tip it back into play but was caught by Shaquanda Greene-Noel, which then got sent down court and intercepted by Flanagan, causing a turnover and Storm score ending the quarter 22-9.
In the second quarter, Annabel Roddy went for interception, but Brookes got the penalty pass and worked it around the circle with Austin to feed into Peace, who found the net. Austin got called for obstruction, along with Middleton, for Dragons to reply. Middleton worked hard and forced Dunn out of the circle, But Dragons sent it to Laura Rudland, who would execute the possession.
Dragons worked the ball around with Middleton hunting an outside ball, which allowed them to send it straight to Dunn, who was left unmarked in the circle. Dragons found some solid phases of play with Shona O’Dwyer catching the ball just on the side line but regained balance and sent it straight to Dunn. Phillipa Yarranton switched in for O’Dwyer, received the centre pass, but then sent it straight into the hands of Guscoth. Yarranton and Flanagan collided at the Dragons’ circle edge from a dragon CP, but Storm got the ball, and Peace shot successfully. The quarter ended with a score of 38-21.
In the third quarter, defensively, Storm heavily put the pressure on as the Dragons only scored once in the opening five minutes. Flanagan deflected the ball, allowing a successful turnover from SDL, who landed right by the post. A bad ball being sent to Peace made it over the sideline, but before it could get halfway down court, Brookes cleanly intercepted from Hannah Leighton.
Greene-Noel brought the away team a lot of energy in the defensive circle and intercepted a feed ball, but a lack of concentration would sent it straight to Flanagan, who read the game beautifully for Peace to score off. A convincing quarter from Storm put the game out of reach for Dragons as they would head into the final quarter leading 54-29.
In the fourth quarter Storm made some changes and put the game in cruise control as both teams exchanged goals. Felisitus Kwangwa tipped the ball around the post for Middleton to receive and send it over the head of Clare Jones straight to Flanagan.
Dunn, Kwangwa, and Middleton all went for a ball, but Kwangwa just tipped it to Cooper, who sent it down to Peace. Rudland tried to send a long ball into Dunn, but Middleton leapt and took it out of the air enabling a successful turnover. Dragons put up solid 11 goals in the final quarter but the deficit being too large to reduce the margin. Final score 68 – 40.
After the match, Head Coach Dannii Titmuss-Morris said “I’m pleased with the second quarter and fourth quarter and we were winning most of the fourth quarter. We were good in patches. I think to be able to embed Rachel into the team was one of our objectives today, she’s had two training sessions with us and ultimately she will be one of us for the rest of the season, so I think to be able to give opportunity for people to play in a competitive environment and learn to be able to play with Rachel was really pleasing.”
Match report provided by Surrey Storm