ZEO Netball Superleague: Hertfordshire Mavericks edge past Celtic Dragons
Hertfordshire Mavericks claimed a 49-45 win over Celtic Dragons on the opening night of the ZEO Netball Superleague.
Last Updated: 31/01/14 8:05am
The Mavericks were without both captain Sasha Corbin through injury and coach Karen Atkinson, who recently gave birth, but made light of those absences to triumph in a closely-fought battle.
Sasha's sister Kadeen Corbin played a starring role in the victory, excelling whenever she was playing in the goal shooter position.
But it was Camilla Buchanan, returning to action after a season-and-a-half absence due to the birth of her child, who received the player of the game award as she pulled the strings from centre.
"It was enjoyable. Obviously we had a few sticky patches out there but it was just great to get back out on the court," Buchanan told Sky Sports.
Lottysha Cato was an offensive menace for the Dragons at the start of the contest but was less effective when moved down to the other end of the court in the second quarter to replace injured goal keeper Rosie Pretorius.
Buchanan added of the tactical adjustment: "Luckily for us we've got quite a lot of versatility. We did play for Cato today but we've got just enough players to be able to work for a rotation as well, so it wasn't too much of a hiccup."
Cato's early goals helped the Dragons to a 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, but when Corbin was switched to goal shooter at the start of the second it sparked a comeback from the hosts.
Hertfordshire had turned things around completely by half-time and may have been disappointed to lead only 29-25 given they had attempted nine more shots than their opponents.
Corbin started the second half at goal attack but was moved back to goal shooter after the Dragons mounted a comeback of their own, with a long-range shot from Emma Thomas helping them tie things up at 37-37 heading into the final quarter.
The Dragons, runners-up in last year's competition, moved into the lead after Thomas and Cara Lea Moseley combined for three goals at the start of the fourth quarter, but Corbin made her presence felt again to level things up.
Corbin continued to dominate and, with under two minutes remaining, had fired her side into a four-goal lead which the Dragons could not overcome.