Mavericks lose phase two opener to Celtic Dragons

PUBLISHED: 16:23 17 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:29 17 April 2013

Alice Ewer lines up a shot under pressure

Alice Ewer lines up a shot under pressure

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THERE was a defeat for Hertfordshire Mavericks in the first match of the Netball Superleague second phase on Saturday.

The Hatfield-based side were beaten 63-47 by Welsh outfit Celtic Dragons.

Phase one of the season went down to the wire with Mavericks and Celtic Dragons securing places in the showdown league above last years’ champions Manchester Thunder.

The additional point they both gained from their 48-48 draw in February proved crucial for both sides, giving them enough points to stay in the top half of the league.

Mavericks were determined to right the wrongs from their previous encounter where they led for the majority of the match only to crumble at the final hurdle with basic errors and poor decision making.

Layla Guscoth was ruled out of the match due to an ankle injury, but Alice Ewer passed a late fitness test to be included in the 12.

The opening exchanges went goal for goal but after a few minutes, Dragons started to edge into the lead with some long range feeding into Lottisha Cato.

Their defensive quartet were putting Mavericks under pressure as they struggled to find the circle edge and convert their centre pass possession. The quarter ended 20-12 to Dragons leaving Mavericks a mountain to climb.

Head coach Karen Atkinson moved Sasha Corbin back to her familiar position of WA and brought Mikaela Austin on at Centre in an attempt to get more ball through to the shooters.

A tighter quarter ensued but Dragons still took the quarter by two stretching their half-time lead to 10.

After some stern words from Atkinson, Mavericks started the second half with renewed energy and intensity.

A higher work rate defensively enabled Naida Hutchinson and Lindsay Keable to get more hand to ball, which was clinically finished off in attack.

At one stage midway through the quarter the lead was reduced to six, but Mavericks just could not break the Dragons stranglehold on the game.

Within minutes the lead was back out to 14 with some relentless defensive pressure from Kyra Jones and Suzy Drane around the circle edge.

The final quarter saw changes for Mavericks in an attempt to make inroads in the scoreline.

Alice Ewer replaced Steffi Burt at GS to provide more movement and access to the circle.

Josie Huckle came on at GK with Hutchinson moving to WD and Rose Morgan-Smith moving forward to C.

Morgan-Smith injected some pace into the attacking third but unforced errors continued to prove costly.

At the other end of the court, Huckle began to challenge the back space of Cato with some well timed movement, but it was too little too late.

Dragons ran out 63-47 winners with more clinical attacking play and tenacious defending.


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