Surrey Storm Netball continued their unbeaten run in the 2017 Vitality Netball Superleague season with a 69-47 win over Celtic Dragons at Surrey Sports Park on Saturday evening.
The hosts opened up a quick goal cushion in the first quarter and never looked back against the Superleague’s basement side, which saw England U21 and former Storm NPL shooter Rhea Dixon make her staring 7 debut for the senior side.
Dragons opened up the tie with 2 goals to create a narrow lead early on, before Dixon and Megan Craig fired Storm into an 8-6 lead to overcome their only deficit of the game. Bethany Sutherland and Lorraine Kowalewska were responsible for a number of turnovers, which were coolly converted at the opposite end as Storm took an 18-14 lead into the first break.
Dixon opened Q2 with an interception of her own from the Dragons centre pass to immediately extend the lead to 5 goals. Increasing pressure on the Welsh attack saw them make a number of mistakes for Storm to clean up under goal, with Katy Holland coming into her own with interception after interception. Storm took a 40-25 advantage at half time, thanks to a slick effort across the whole court.
Frankie Wells (GS), Scarlett Williams (WD), Naida Hutchinson (GK) and Katie Harris (GA) hit the court for the second half as Head Coach Tania Hoffman opted to rotate the bench with the strong advantage. Dragons pulled a handful of goals back while Storm settled into the 3rd quarter, but it wasn’t long till Wells and Harris were bagging effortless goals to push the lead back up to 15. Another late surge came from the visitors, but Surrey were able to hold an 11 goal lead (52-41) heading into the final quarter.
Mikki Austin arrived on court for Q4, with Kowalewska returning to GD and Parsons moving to WA. The fresh legs gave Storm new life against a Dragons side who were seemingly out of options, as Austin provided a new defensive challenge while successfully feeding balls into the shooting circle. Goal after goal followed and Storm were able to close out another fine win, defeating Celtic Dragons 69-47.
Round 7 follows and a huge crunch match against Wasps, who visit Surrey Sports Park next Saturday (1st April, 7pm) for the first time with a number of familiar faces including Head Coach Tamsin Greenway and Storm legends Rachel Dunn and Hannah Reid.
Player of the Match: Lorraine Kowalewska
Storm starting 7:
Changes for Storm: Wells to GS, Williams to WD, Hutchinson to GK, Harris to GA (all Q3), Austin to C, Kowalewska to GD, Parsons to WA (all Q4)
Dragons starting 7:
Changes for Dragons: Drane to WD (Q2), Davies to GD, Thomas to GK (Q3), Bell to GA, Morgan to GD (Q4)
Storm shooting stats:
Craig: 28/34, 82%
Dixon: 12/15, 80%
Wells: 21/27, 78%
Harris: 8/8, 100%
Team: 69/84, 82%
Dragons shooting stats:
Roberts: 21/27, 78%
McCollin: 23/23, 100%
Bell: 3/5, 60%
Team: 47/55, 85%
Kowalewka: 3 interceptions, 3 rebounds
Dixon: 3 interceptions, 1 rebound
Craig: 5 rebounds
Hutchinson: 4 rebounds
Parsons, Holland: 3 rebounds
Harris: 2 rebounds
Austin, Sutherland, Williams: 1 rebound
Team: 17 interceptions, 13 rebounds
Thomas: 3 interceptions, 3 rebounds
Rideout: 1 interception, 2 rebounds
Morgan: 1 interception, 1 rebound
Davies: 3 interceptions
Jones: 2 interceptions
McCollin: 1 interceptio