Celtic Dragons announce first new signings as Lightning and Storm add to existing squads

Chelsea Lewis has signed for Celtic Dragons (PA Images)
Chelsea Lewis has signed for Celtic Dragons (PA Images)
11:06am, Thu 26 Sep 2019
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Wales’ only professional netball team Celtic Dragons have revealed four new signings ahead of the 2020 Vitality Superleague.

Welsh international shooter Chelsea Lewis and defenders Leila Thomas and Dee Bolakoro will all return to the side after a successful mid-table finish last season. They will be joined by England’s ‘Most Improved Player’ Abby Tyrrell.

Head coach Tania Hoffman said: “Chelsea has been talismanic for Dragons and Wales throughout her career and everyone in the league knows how capable she is, not only in terms of shooting, but also her physicality and ability to impose herself on the game.

“Leila is one of Wales’ most exciting young netballers and she had a good summer series with Wales this year. Getting her back over the bridge for the coming season is fantastic for the franchise.

“Abby was one of the first players to put pen to paper this season and her enthusiasm and passion for this team is really inspirational to see.

“Dee’s statistics were very impressive last season and her ability to disrupt the opposition will be important to us in the coming campaign.”

Shooter Lucy Parize has re-signed for Lightning (Ben Lumley)

Loughborough Lightning have re-signed shooter Lucy Parize ahead of the new season.

In her youth she was part of the Wasps academy and featured in both Under-19 and Under-21 level England youth programmes. She earned her first Superleague debut at the age of 20 for Lightning.

Director of Lightning Olivia Murphy said: “We are really excited to have Lucy back with us this year. She was a prominent member of our U21 team last year and made a significant impact every time she took to the Superleague court.

“Lucy has already shown her desire and commitment to improve with additional sessions with Sara and her support team. She will be one to watch this year.”

Parize will be Lightning’s fifth signing where she will join Sam May, Ella Clark, Nat Panagarry and Hannah Joseph.

Sophie Hankin will join Storm in her eighth Superleague season (PA Images)

Surrey Storm have signed shooter Sophie Hankin for the new campaign.

The 24 year-old will play in her eighth Superleague season having had previous experience at Saracens Mavericks and Team Northumbria.

Hankin said on the signing: “It was hard to leave Mavericks. Over the years they’ve made me the player that I am, but now this is a fresh chapter for me. I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity and it’s for me to develop my netball."

Dragons will face Surrey Storm in the season opener, Lightning will play Team Bath whilst Storm are set to play Welsh side Celtic Dragons at the Arena Birmingham in February.

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