The Celtic Dragons lost their first match of the new season yesterday against two-time league champions the Hertfordshire Mavericks.
Despite an early lead at the end of the first quarter, the Mavericks edged past the Welsh players with a 49-45 victory.
Co-captain Suzy Drane said the Mavericks, whose own captain bowed out of the game due to injury, have good speed and are a tough team to beat.
The Dragons enjoyed their most successful season last year finishing second in the league, but head coach Melissa Hyndman said she is feeling surprisingly nervous.
“I’ve never felt this sort of nervous before actually which is strange.
I think my expectations of the girls is higher. I know the expectations of these players better than they do I think.”
But Ms Drane said despite the nerves the team have been keen to get on the court again.
“It’s always going to be a tough challenge opening the Superleage for 2014 but the girls have got that adrenaline pumping already. We have a few butterflies but good butterflies.”
Team physiotherapist Chris Lewis said the team are fighting fit at the moment and ready to go for the new season.
“There’s always little niggles and ankles are the most common injury because of landing and twisting. “
We’re making sure we keep an eye on the girls. If we can see certain girls with a problem we have to take that out before it becomes a bigger problem.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, co-captain Cara Lea Moseley, 26, from Blackwood, said it is difficult to work out who the Dragons’ toughest opponents will be.
“I think it’s difficult to say. There’s been a lot of movement between the franchises and every franchise has the opportunity to import players so you don’t necessarily know the players coming over.
“It’s always really competitive regardless of who you play against. Obviously we would like to back ourselves and say we would be up the top because we have that belief.”
The team said they have upped their training to prepare for the season ahead.
Miss Moseley, a student who plays for Cardiff Met, said: “We’ve continued with the hard work last year and we’ve upped that in every way possible so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen again.
“We’ve doubled the contact time basically. We train as a group a lot more and we’re a lot closer. The training itself is harder, it’s a lot more specific to where we’re at.”
The team train six days a week at the Sport Wales National Centre in Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
As well as focussing largely on their own play, the team said they use video analysis of other teams to prepare for matches.
Ms Drane, who plays for Llantrisant, said the players take it game by game although the head coach has her eye on the long term.
Ms Hyndman said: “This is just one game of many. It’s about Commonwealth Games. Every single game we take on now, win or lose, it’s about the performance. the end result for me is Commonwealth Games.”
The Dragons will now prepare for their away game against Team Northumbria on February 8.