Celtic Dragons 41 Saracens Mavericks 61

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A head injury to Amy Clinton in the previous game forced Dragons into several changes ahead of the game against Saracens Mavericks. Annika Lee-Jones made her first start at GS with Leila Thomas taking her place at keeper. Meanwhile, co-captain Rebekah Robinson moved to wing-attack with Laura Rudland partnering Annika in the circle.

It was a hellish start for Dragons as Mavericks asserted themselves early in the match, utilising their height across court to pressure Dragons and snuff out their attack before it even had a moment to get started. Still, Leila Thomas and Abby Tyrrell used their ever-industrious footwork to give the Mavericks shooters plenty to think about. Abby helped to force a rebound which Dragons converted, but the highlights reel for Dragons in the quarter was painfully short.

The quarter-time break allowed Dragons a brief pause to take stock and as a result, the team made a far more settled start to the period, with Laura Rudland shooting a confident long-ranger. The Dragons’ zonal defence fared better as the quarter went on and Shona O’Dywer demonstrated strength to match her trademark agility in defending the circle. Likewise, Rebekah Robinson seemed to grow into the WA position more and more as time went on, helping Dragons to recover a ‘coach-killer’ turnover. As a result, the quarter went goal-for-goal and Dragons, courtesy of some eagle-eyed vision from Clare Jones, took the period by a single goal.

Dragons started the second half in similar form, with Annika Lee Jones showcasing a powerful hold to convert Dragons’ first feed. A few calls went against Dragons as they attempted to chip away at Mavericks’ lead and take advantage of the opposition’s substitutions. This meant that a few key opportunities went amiss, including a fantastic piece of defensive work by Abby Tyrrell. As a result, Mavericks were able to protect their lead in a quarter where Dragons probably should have bitten a chunk out of the deficit.

As it was, the final quarter saw Dragons slip a bit, with the game beyond doubt. Nevertheless, several players had put their hands up across the court and it felt as though Dragons might have a bit more depth than some would have given the squad credit for.

Quarter scores: (Dragons-Mavericks) 8-19 (8-19); 13-12 (21-31); 10-12 (31-43); 10-18 (41-61)

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