Netball Superleague semi-final: Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm
Superleague semi-final: Celtic Dragons v Surrey Storm
- Venue: Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff
- Date: Monday, 20 May
- Start: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra
Celtic Dragons go into unchartered territory as they take on Surrey Storm in the Superleague semi-final at the National Centre in Cardiff on Monday.
Dragons have never finished in the top half of the table before.
But four wins out of seven in the first phase of the league followed by four from six in the Showdown phase saw them finish second and earn home advantage.
"We've already made history with the Dragons by finishing second in the league," co-captain Suzy Drane said.
"I think it's continuity, we've had a similar team now for a good couple of years, we've got a coach [Melissa Hyndman] who's progressed with us and we're all getting game-play together."
"We're hoping we'll be able to build on the history we've already made, take that one step further and get into that Grand Final."
Melissa Hyndman Celtic Dragons and Wales coach
“We can go all the way... now it's up to the girls to push that little bit further”
Celtic Dragons beat Surrey Storm in their first two meetings of the season but suffered a shock 30-goal reverse in Cardiff in their worst performance of the season.
"I think it'll be very fierce, a close game really, physical and enjoyable," said vice-captain Cara-Lea Moseley, whose father, Kevin, represented Wales at rugby union as a lock forward.
"People joke and say it's just a hobby but to play at this level you've got to make sure you're training as any other high-performance athlete.
"We have to work or study fulltime as well so it's a really tough schedule but you do it if you love the game."
The winner of Monday night's semi-final will contest the Grand Final at the Worcester Arena on 25 May, facing either Team Bath or Manchester Thunder.
For Kiwi coach Hyndman the semi-final is the reward for three years of hard graft by her squad since taking over.
That period has seen the Superleague team rise from also-rans to title challengers, while the Wales national side - also coached by Hyndman - moved up to 10th in the world rankings.
"The three years since I've been here I've pretty much 'beasted' them," Hyndman said.
"We've put together a very strong programme with some key people that have helped with strength and conditioning, the girls have committed to it and we're now a force to be reckoned with.
"We can go all the way. The one thing I find very hard in this country is getting that belief in players in Wales and we've done that, now it's up to the girls to push that little bit further."
With vital world rankings points at stake for Wales in the Netball Europe competition at the end of the month, it promises to be a hectic few weeks for the ambitious Hyndman and her players.