Surrey Storm Netball showed no mercy on Saturday night in a confident Superleague 66-49 win over Celtic Dragons at Surrey Sports Park.
Storm flew out of the blocks and commanded the opening play, converting numerous costly errors which inflicted a deadly half time deficit on their visitors.
Coach Greenway named a changed side to start Saturday’s fixture, bringing Georgia Lees and Josie Huckle in for their first starts of the season, with Mikki Austin and Katy Holland dropping to the bench.
Storm quickly flew out of the blocks with an interception from the first first centre pass, creating an instant opportunity for Dunn to net. This was followed by a stunning backline drive from Cookey and the Storm lead was quickly doubled, before Huckle took a clean intercept to hand Storm a commanding lead with just minutes on the clock.
With Dragons struggling against the intense pressure of the Surrey mid-court zone and shooters Rachel Dunn and Pamela Cookey posting a 100% scoring record in the opening quarter from almost any position within the circle, it was the hosts who took a 21-11 into the break.
Surrey opened the 2nd quarter in the same fashion as they finished the first, scoring the opening goal and maintaining their flawless shooting record well into the period. Dragons pulled their defence in tighter on the Storm attack but it was the battle between Cara-Lee Moseley and Hannah Reid at the opposite end of the court which proved pivotal as Surrey extended their lead to 37-22 at the half time whistle.
Kat Hayes, Tamsin Greenway, Mikki Austin, Laurelle Borck and Katy Holland all arrived on court to start the 2nd half as the coaches showed the squad’s depth in talent. Borck settled in well at WD by taking an early interception which was fed through to the usual razor sharp Greenway-Dunn combo to score. Dragons showed some signs of improvement, taking the quarter by a single goal, but a 14 goal lead (51-37) for Surrey looked unassailable with 15 mins remaining.
Cookey returned to the court for the closing period to continue what was an excellent performance by the whole Storm attack. Reid began picking off interceptions for fun as Dragons upped their game in an attempt to reduce the deficit but couldn’t fight against a strong Surrey defence, who took the win 66-49 to keep themselves on the tails of Superleague table toppers Manchester Thunder.
Coach Greenway was delighted with her team’s performance when speaking after the match: “There were some excellent individual performances out there. Georgia Lees stepped in well at WA and Josie Huckle was outstanding.
“But throughout the match we showed just how strong this whole squad is. It was create to be able to rotate and test new combinations, all of which worked well. It was also great for me to get a coaches perspective from the bench for a change- it’s important that I do that when I get the chance.”
Surrey Storm travel to Loughborough Lightning in round 5 this Saturday (6pm centre-pass) before returning to Surrey Sports Park on 28th February to host Team Northumbria.
Player of the match: Rachel Dunn
Surrey Storm starting line-up:
Subs: Greenway, Borck, Holland, Hayes, Austin
Changes: Greenway to WA, Borck to WD, Holland to GD, Hayes to GA, Austin to C
Celtic Dragons starting line-up:
GS- CH Lewis
WA- S Morgan
Subs: Dyke, CA Lewis, K Morgan, Middleton, Thomas
Changes: Dyke to WA, Jones to GD, CA Lewis to WD, S Morgan to C, Thomas to GA, K Morgan to GK
Storm: Dunn 41/46 89%; Cookey 16/18 89%; Hayes 9/13 69%. Team 66/77 86%
Dragons: Lewis 35/45 78%; Moseley 8/11 73%; Thomas 6/7 86%. Team 49/63 78%