Demons fly home to snatch win on the road

On a high from a drought breaking Anzac Day victory, South Gambier was staring down a five-goal deficit at half time in its Western Border netball clash with Casterton Sandford.

Enter young gun shooter Lara Munro.

The promising South goaler had a quiet first half and was struggling with inaccuracy but she flicked a switch and in the third quarter she shot an astonishing 21 goals without a miss to help turn that half time deficit into a nine-goal three quarter time lead.

Having shot only nine goals in the opening half, Munro dug deep and backed up the 21 straight in the third quarter with 13 from 14 in the last to change the complexion of the contest.

Munro was not on her own with having a quiet first half and a lift in intensity from goal keeper Grace Edwards plus the injection of the fresh legs of 17 and Under player Sophie Wight on the defensive wing also helped turn the game.

Alyssa Duncan, Megan Reid and Tully McShane also found their mojo and their ability to find Munro in space improved significantly.

The Demons were missing defensive players Ellie Bouchier and Ruby Richter, while the Cats were without inspirational mid courter Scarlett Jarrad due to injury, which probably explains both sides finding their feet in the opening half.

Casterton Sandford goal shooter Madalene Cleary was her usual reliable self and took control of the attack end of the court in the absence of Jarrad.

At the other end, the first half lead for the home side was set up by the defensive intensity of Ebany Jarrad and Caeleigh Humphries, whose battle with Duncan was one of the highlights of the match, while Tessa Marra at wing defence placed good pressure on the Demons feeders in addition to providing critical in link play through the mid court.

In the end, the 22-8 third quarter was the deciding 15 minutes of the contest, as was Duncan’s perfect shooting in the first half, which kept the Demons in touch of the superior Cats.

Mykaela Thiele’s efforts at goal defence was also pivotal, while South was also able to debut both Chelsea Ryan and Wight to give them a taste of senior action.


WEST GAMBIER V EAST GAMBIER


The clash at Malseed Park between the 2022 contenders West Gambier and reigning premiers East Gambier was rollercoaster to say the least.

At quarter time, the Roos were in control with a nine-goal lead.

Sarah Ritter, returning from her silver medal winning performance with the 19 and Under South Australian netball team at the national championships, was the dominant force with 15 from 19, while East just could not work its way through the Roos’ defence, generating only 10 scoring opportunities and netting seven.

You do not win premierships though if you are not a tough and resilient group and the Bulldogs responded at both ends of the court.

The defensive line tightened up and made it a lot tougher for the Roos to find their shooters in space, while at the offensive end, the frontline started to find better connection to find their way through the West defenders and by half time the margin had been cut to four.

The Bulldogs switched their goalers at the main break, with Amryn Bosko moving to goal attack and Sarah Lock back to shooter and the road back continued, setting up a tense final quarter with the Roos’ lead cut to two.

But this Jekyll and Hyde contest continued with West taking complete control, winning the quarter by 10 to secure a 12-goal victory.

Ritter was again unstoppable under the post for the Roos, while East just could not generate enough scoring opportunities, netting six from nine as a shooting combination but just not getting enough of the ball.

Emily Hunter ran hard all day for the Bulldogs, Tyne Bosko continued to dominate the competition on the defensive wing, while Ritter was the Roos’ best, with the hard running of Tara Bryant also critical.


MILLICENT V NORTH GAMBIER

Smarting from their first Anzac Day loss in a decade, North Gambier came out of the blocks firing at McLaughlin Park, proving it always seems to match up well on the pacesetting Saints.

In what loomed as a battle of the tall shooters, with Tabatha Sanderson dominating under the post for Millicent and Caroline Wakefield, who was again named in North’s best, and neither disappointed.

Millicent held a one goal quarter time lead as Sanderson netted a perfect 15 from 15, while Wakefield was strongly supported by young gun Macey Griffith who netted six from seven in her critical support role.

The tables turned slightly in the second where Wakefield was the perfect shooter with 13 from 13, with the Saints taking a two-goal lead into the main break.

The arm wrestle continued in the third with North reconfiguring its mid court with Ash Kalantarian moving to centre and Brianna Walters to the attacking wing and at the final change it was a one goal game with the Saints just in front.

In a somewhat surprising move, it was Millicent who made the wholesale changes heading into the last.

Lillie Paul returned to the court with the centre bib, Hannah Nitschke took the goal defence bib and Georgia Clarke moved out to wing defence.

For a club that so often backs its system and wears teams down it was a bold move and paid dividends.

The home side won the final quarter 19-8 to produce a score line that did not truly reflect the tightness of the contest.

Millicent was best served by Demi Verbena and Paige Nitschke who did a mountain of work out the front of Sanderson, while North defender Mel Renko was the Tigers’ best – not just for her tight checking defnsive efforts and ability to disrupt, but for her strong work through the mid court in transition, while Wakefield again, with 42 from 47, was dominant.

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