21 March 2013


Celtic Dragons stunned table toppers Surrey Storm with a 15 goal win, and in doing so earned themselves a place in the ‘Showdown’ tier –Superleague’s ‘top four’ for phase two of the season.

The Welsh win has sent shockwaves through the league as it knocks defending champions, Manchester Thunder into the ‘Challenger’ league, despite falling on the sword of Manchester by 23 goals earlier in the season.

Dragons started with energy and determination, but were steady and patient, nailing passes to Goal Shoot Lottysha Cato in prime position under the net, whilst Storm seemed slightly agitated and didn’t drive at their normal speed in attack.

As a result, the home side ended the first quarter one goal in front of the league leaders 15 – 14.

Naturally neither Coach wanted to make any changes at the quarter break so the same 14 battled on, but the home seven had worked up an appetite.

Their hunger for this win showed on their faces, and textbook intercepts from Sara Hale at Goal Keeper and Stephanie Williams at Goal Defense were phenomenal.

Co-Captain Suzy Drane and Wing Defense Nichola James closed off options for ex Dragons team-mate and current Welsh international Sophie Morgan (who moved to Storm this season) and the attacker was out of time to make a pass, forcing a quick turnover for Dragons.

The cheer was immediately followed by loud boos from the crowd as they noticed their Welsh international was reprimanded by her own team mate – Storm’s goaler Rachel Dunn.

Celtic manouvered the ball around Surrey, linking the three areas of the court well, and each player looked to be having a great game.

They pulled away with an eight goal advantage at half time, 32 – 24. Surrey tried to tame the Dragons in the third quarter, and almost did, reducing the margin to five at several stages. A much needed intercept from Hale came but Dragon’s began to misjudge a few Cato feeds and the Shooter missed a couple of shots.

The gap narrowed to five again as Storm’s Goal Attack Ash Neal breezed a long range shot, giving the crowd a worry, as the visitors looked to be making a comeback.

Again Dragons were on the ambush, and tall Cara Moseley in the mid court reached out in the cross fire to come away with clean possession.

Yet more stunning defensive efforts from Hale, and a great turnover from Drane meant Dragons were again on the up and entered the final quarter 47 goals to 34.

Storm Coach Tamsin Greenway decided to near enough rearrange her entire team, moving players around and bringing on youngsters Amy Flanagan to Goal Defense and Georgia Lees to Centre.

Flanagan made an impact in defense, neatly covering the ball with her hands at any opportunity, but ultimately the Dragons were on fire and were the performers of the night.

A final score of 65 – 50 though unexpected, meant the both the home team and crowd were thrilled with the skills on show and consequences of the win.