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Yasmin Parsons of Surrey Storm

The second game of this year’s Season Opener brought even more last minute drama with Surrey Storm edging out Celtic Dragons 43-44 in front of a record breaking crowd at Arena Birmingham.

The first quarter got off to a frantic start with Celtic Dragons gaining possession off Surrey Storm’s first centre pass, with precision Dragons went two goals ahead.

Quickly Dragons were developing a lead but some excellent mid-court work from Surrey Storm’s Mikki Austin ensured they didn’t push too far ahead with the score at 11-7 midway through the quarter.

Storm’s Wing Defence, Niamh Cooper and Goal Attack, Sophie Hankin put in some strong displays towards the end of the quarter with the latter scoring just before the buzzer. Celtic Dragons, however, didn’t let up and held a lead of 15-12 by the end of quarter one.

Dragons continued to push their lead throughout quarter two with Goal Shooter Amy Clinton scoring an impressive long-bomb midway through the quarter. After trying to repeat this success however, Storm’s Goal Keeper Leah Middleton snatched the rebound, getting her team back into attack.

Celtic Dragons made a substitution at Goal Attack, bringing on Rebekah Robinson with Brittany Coleman making way. Robinson closed the second quarter with a goal, making the score 25-20.

Surrey Storm started the third quarter with two quick consecutive goals however, Dragons’ Rebekah Robinson responded with a swift and short shot, slowing down Storm’s ability to catch up. Storm started making a comeback and quickly managed to bridge the lead, now trailing by only one goal.

In an attempt to regain their lost momentum, Dragons lifted it another level with more goals coming from Rebekah Robinson. For the remainder of the third quarter, a three goal gap dominated the score line but with two quick goals for Dragons just before the end of the quarter it finished 36-31.

Yasmin Hodge-England was on at Goal Attack for Storm in the final quarter and her and Karyn Bailey started to chip away at the score line. Storm closed the gap to three and were really starting to put pressure on the Dragons’ lead. With five minutes to go Surry Storm had brought the score back to 41-40, only a single goal behind Celtic Dragons.

With just over three minutes left of the match, a Storm equaliser brought the score level. Karyn Bailey then caught the rebound to score and go one ahead and despite intense pressure from Dragons in the closing stages as they attempted to send the game to extra time it was Austin’s team which took the points.

Surrey Storm starting seven – Kayrn Bailey (GS), Sophie Hankin (GA), Yasmin Parsons (WA), Mikki Austin (C), Niamh Cooper (WD), Katy Hughes (GD), Middleton (GK).

Celtic Dragons starting seven – Amy Clinton (GS), Brittany Coleman (GA), Shona O’Dwyer (WA), Sophie Morgan (C), Paige Kindred (WD), Abby Tyrrell (GD), Latanya Wilson (GK).

By Hannah Bradfield.

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