Wales franchise team, the Celtic Dragons have announced their squad of twelve players, ahead of the upcoming Vitality Netball Superleague 2016-17.
The announcement sees the return of six players to the squad, as well as several new talented players. Former Celtic Dragons captain Suzy Drane returns for her 12th season with the Dragons, along with Wales international team mates Kelly Morgan, Kyra Jones, Sara Bell and Bethan Dyke. Eleanor Roberts has also featured in the Celtic Dragons squad during the 2014-15 season, and has represented Wales within the U17 and U19 age group.
Celtic Dragons are also delighted to announce the signing of attacker Kalifa McCollin from Trinidad and Tobago, and New Zealand centre court player Stacey Peeters.
“I am delighted to be part of the Celtic Dragons playing roster for 2017,” says 24 year old Peeters, who was a member of the New Zealand U21 squad who won the Netball World Youth Cup in 2013.
“I have been really impressed with the set up at the Dragons and in what they want to achieve on and off the court. I am also really looking forward to mixing with the best players in the UK and helping the Dragons be a competitive force in the competition.”
Three Wales Under 21 international players will make their Dragons debut: Wales U21 recent Captain Fern Davies, goal shooter Lydia Hitchings, and goal keeper Leila Thomas.
Former England Under 17 and Under 19 long squad netball player, Lois Rideout also joins the team as a defender.
In June 2016, Celtic Dragons announced their successful four year contract in the prestigious netball Superleague. The franchise team will be one of ten teams to go head-to-head in 18 matches from February to June 2017. As the only Welsh team in the Superleague, the Dragons combine the finest players from all over Wales with a mixture of international talented netball players blended into the group.
Celtic Dragons former Captain Suzy Drane says she is looking forward to building on last years performance, where Celtic Dragons finished at 7th place:
“I am looking forward to working with Head Coach Trish Wilcox, the management team and my team mates to build on our performances last season and gain even more success this coming season.
“With a fresh faced team and new look Superleague the season ahead is set to be extremely exciting.”
Welsh Netball CEO, Sarah Jones said:
“We are delighted to announce the Celtic Dragons squad, and it is great to welcome returning strong Welsh players combined with new fresh faces from Trinidad and Tobago and of course New Zealand.
“This is also a fantastic opportunity to nurture the young Wales U21 players who have joined the Celtic Dragons. This is an incredible platform to develop young Welsh talent who are part of the Welsh Netball Performance Pathway.
“This will bring them valuable experience as they prepare for the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana, under the strong guidance of Head Coach Trish Wilcox.”
Head Coach Wilcox said:
“I am delighted to be able to name so many home grown Welsh players in the squad for this upcoming season, and the addition of two World class players Stacey and Kalifa completes our squad.
“Being able to give several of our young Wales U21 players exposure at this level of competition will not only benefit the franchise in the long term, but Wales in the future.”