Dragons were able to seize on an early Bath error thanks to the quick hands of Clare Jones, with Amy Clinton popping it through the ring for her 221st goal of the season so far. Bath were able to respond in kind, with Eboni Usoro-Brown doing very well to pilfer a Dragons feed as the two team traded blows in the first five minutes. Eventually, the league-leaders were able to break the deadlock before captain Rebekah Robinson steadied the ship with her first score. Dragons defence – led by vice-captain Jones – were poised and composed and were able to win a lot of ball from the Bath attack. A trademark leaping interception from Abby Tyrrell saw Sophie Drakeford-Lewis de-possessed and Dragons went level. Eventually the period finished with Bath fortunate to hold a two-goal advantage.
It was a fiery start to the second quarter from Dragons who looked to further assert themselves from the whistle. A blitzing drive up to the opposition circle saw Robinson go for a brave long-shot which Bath were able to gather on the rebound to increase their lead. Nevertheless, on the Bath centre-pass Annika Lee Jones was able to put pressure on the Blue and Gold shooters to force yet another error. The opposition were all at sea as they started launching poor first phases passes into the Dragons circle. It was only the genius of Bath centre Layla Guscoth whose vision and athleticism helped her team to pick up the pieces. All the while, Dragons stuck to their task and a routine shot from Amy Clinton saw Dragons take the lead with four minutes of the half remaining. It was scrappy from both teams as the half time break approached but Dragons were brimming with confidence heading into the interval.
Team Bath made the more assertive start to the second half with more interceptions for Guscoth. Despite this, Lee-Jones stood firm under her goal and Dragons were able to win some key ball once again as the scores remained close. The Bath circle edge became congested as the Blue and Gold defenders minimised the space between Robinson and Clinton. As a result, the feed was heavily pressured and Bath won a held ball call against Dragons. This helped them push their score back up to a lead of four. Dragons scrapped hard to get back into the quarter, but a couple of rebounded shots found their way into Bath hands and so retaking the lead proved beyond Dragons.
There was late disruption in the third period as Clinton took a knock, but fortunately she was back on at the start of the final quarter. Dragons remained positive despite the clock being against them, but Bath were able to make full use of their all-star bench. As a result, as the game moved towards its conclusion, they were able to maintain a relentless level of pressure to secure the match.
Dragons will be thrilled by some of the netball they played during the match. Easier assignments lie ahead, and the team have shown that they will take some beating in games to come!
Quarter Scores: 09-11 (09-11); 09-06 (18-17) 07-16 (25-33); 09-18 (34-51).