23 April 2013
TeamBath ended Celtic Dragons’ five game winning streak, thrusting a fatal second half dagger into the hosts last night in Newport, which included a straight of seven unanswered goals.
Bath won the game 60 goals to 48, following a “de-stressing” half time chat by Coach Jess Thirlby, after her side lost the first half by three points.
The teams rattled each other from the start, and whilst nobody had thankfully resorted to biting, there was certainly no love lost on court, with the ball being pushed hard and kicked by Bath to the opposition in frustration.
As the first quarter ended 13 goals apiece, the highly anticipated clash of the top two teams was set up.
Dragons Coach Melissa Hyndman was without three key players due to illness and injury so looked to Cathy Bastian, Bethan Dyke, Nia Jones and Kiwi import Jenna Murie to step up to the line, and Dragons continued to lead the way at half time 29 – 26.
The third quarter saw Bath let rip on Dragons and they found a momentum which after just a few minutes saw them take a definite lead.
Whilst the game at times showed messy Netball skills as well as some good ones, the major controversy lay in the mental aspect, as several players contested umpire decisions.
Sara Hale unfortunately lost a contact lens so called time and left the court, but as the Dragons bench players were out of sight around the corner warming up, no replacement was available, drastically meaning that Dragons went down to six players.
Jenna Murie (who at this point was playing GD, pictured above at WD) found herself in a 2 v 1 scenario in the circle, trying to defend both Kadeen Corbin and Pamela Cookey single handedly. The defender’s natural off ball, New Zealand style of play came in useful as she got her hands to passes against the international circle attacking pair.
Desipte her efforts, Bath scored and Hale returned to court.
Some of the Bath players entered into a heated dialogue with the umpires following Hale’s return, and confusion gripped the venue as it was uncertain why there was a debate happening.
Dragons worked hard to peg away at Bath but several errors stopped the ball from completing to goal for the hosts, whilst Bath were fast and slick.
Bath’s Sam Cook successfully managed to snatch some of the long bombs to Lottysha Cato, turning over more ball for Bath.
They continued to read feeds and though Dragons looked threatening, they also looked tired. Bath powered through the final quarter at top speed to take the victory.
Their Coach, Jess Thirlby, was pleased with the impact of the inter-court changes, and feels positive going forward.
“There were some really good moments in attack and defence for us, but anything that you lose gets punished very quickly with a goal [by Dragons].”
“If this was the final and 1 was playing 2 and we won by 12 I would be really happy with that. I’m generally very pleased. We pushed on and earned the reward of it in the second half.”
18 year old Bethan Dyke played three quarters of the game for Dragons and though Coach Hyndman thought she played well, she was not at all impressed with the majority of her players, and also commented on the quality of the game in general.
“I’m really disappointed because we had that game…"
Hyndman described the freedom for Players to enter into discussions with the umpires as “ridiculous”.
She added “Maybe they just need to stop and say ‘both team captains come together and sort it out’ because I did not come to watch a slinging, all out fighting match.
“At one stage TeamBath were actually trying to control that game. Who’s got the whistle? Who’s got control of the game? I don’t think it was a very top quality game.”
Hyndman believes this game has highlighted the need for Coaches to take stock.
“I think we [as coaches] all need to take a good hard look at ourselves in the way that we are playing this game because it is not of top international standard.”
The two sides meet again on Monday at Bath University in their next match.
Q1: CD 13, TB 13,
Q2: CD 29, TB 26,
Q3: CD 37, TB 44,
Q4: CD 48, TB 60
Celtic Dragons: GS Lottysha Cato, GA Emma Thomas, WA Suzy Drane, C Cathy Bastian, WD Jenna Murie, GD Stephanie Williams, GK Sara Hale
TeamBath: GS Kadeen Corbin, GA Pamela Cookey, WA Asha Francis, C Mia Ritchie, WD Serena Guthrie GD Samantha Cook, GK Stacey Francis
Celtic Dragons: Lottysha Cato: 38 from 45 (84%), Emma Thomas 8 from 9 (89%)
TeamBath: Pamela Cookey 30 from 33 (91%), Kadeen Corbin 30 from 37 (81%)