Desperate Dogs cling to top four spot on A grade netball ladder

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Desperate Dogs cling to top four spot on A grade netball ladder

East Gambier’s place inside the top four would have been in jeopardy if they dropped the round 11 clash against South Gambier and despite not having the services of star defender Bo Creek, the Bulldogs got the job done in an error ridden, physical contest.

The final scoreline of 40-31 in favour of East came down to around 10 minutes of netball.

The Bulldogs came out of the blocks firing and posted the first five goals of the contest and then with South still in touch at three quarter time, trailing by five, they scored the first four of the quarter and result was beyond doubt.

The rest of the match was a goal for goal contest where both teams struggled to balance disciplined play with a desire to win the ball.

The two goal defenders were the most influential players on court with East’s Morgan Amy covering for her long time teammate Creek and continually creating turnovers, either through deflections and interceptions or her strong rebounding, while South’s Ellie Bouchier continually kept her team in the contest with her impressive work in the air and ability to follow up her own deflections to gain possession.

East playing coach Malinda Foster was also a key factor with her clever positioning and accurate finishing and it was the finishing that also told the story of the match.

South generated 54 scoring opportunities to East’s 50 but Foster and Renee Henke ensured most of those opportunities ended up on the scoreboard.

East’s reconfigured mid court, while having some teething issues, found some good connection with their shooters and the cameo return of Tarsh McCallum ensured there was strong leadership, as well as great pace and smarts at the attacking end of the court.

And McCallum was not the only blast from the past that returned to court with Sarah Allen (Lock) also hitting the court at goal shooter in the third quarter.

For South, Megan Reid’s injection into the shooting circle late in the first quarter added some strong movement to the Demons attack end and, along with Bouchier, she was the most influential player for the home side.

Teresa Humphris ran hard in centre, picking up some important gains defensively as well as delivering accurately to the Demons goalers and Gracie Dalton stood tall to provide a target.

WEST GAMBIER V NORTH GAMBIER


West Gambier has dropped its first game of the season, toppled by North Gambier in a tight contest and wonderful preview of what could be in store for the 2024 finals series.

Missing star shooter Sarah Ritter, the Roos again opted for Tahlia Bradley under the post and her opening quarter saw her turning back the clock as she netted 11 from 13 and proved a focal point.

But the Tigers were also on song, with Kelly Lockwood converting 12 from 13 and eventually taking a five goal lead into the first break.

Not surprisingly, the top ranked Roos responded swiftly to the deficit.

Defensively they upped the ante, with Mikaela Horrigan tightening the screws on Lockwood to deny her as much possession and at the other end of the court Lisa McGregor went to work, not only was she controlling the offensive ball movement, she had a perfect scoring quarter with 13 straight as West turned that quarter time deficit into a three goal half time lead.

North reacted to West’s stunning second quarter by injecting State 15 & Under shooter Mischa Human into the contest and it paid dividends as she netted 23 from 23 in the second half.

Just as West had increased their defensive intensity in the second, North did the same in the third, restricting the scoring opportunities and fighting their way back to a one goal three quarter time lead.

The final quarter was an arm wrestle as both sides looked to gain momentum and in the end, courtesy in no small part to Human’s accuracy, it was North that took the premiership points.

Jess Holmes was best for West with her work rate and ability to find her goalers in space, while McGregor was also a workhorse and finished accurately and Horrigan and Amy Cram certainly did not let North have it all their own way.

Macey Griffith has basically been in North’s best for the majority of the season and the weekend was no different as she not only converted 25 from 30 but also continually connected well with both Lockwood and Human with her precision feeding.

And much like Holmes just ran all day for West, Brianna Walters did the same for North, continually working high up the court as a connection player between the defence and shooters, as well as hitting the circle hard, delivering the ball with her trademark precision.

CASTERTON SANDFORD V MILLICENT


Casterton Sandford welcomed back Holly Smith and Chelsea Hulm at the weekend and while they challenged the Saints for the majority of the first three quarters, they were overrun in the final quarter and Millicent went home with a 24 goal victory.

Starting with Caeleigh Humphries and Hulm in goals and opting for Smith in goal keeper, the Cats matched it with the Saints, trailing by only two at the first change.

Enter Demi Verbena, who took matters into her own hands, netting 10 from 12 as she completely took control of the offensive end for the Saints and brought back their traditional speed on the ball.

Millicent took an 11 goal lead into the main break and the Cats swung the changes, moving Smith back to goal shooter, Humphries to goal keeper, and injecting the fresh legs of Phoebe Carlin onto the defensive wing.

It was another tight quarter, despite the perfect shooting from Nikeisha Facey, but the visitors did still increase their lead and it sat at 14 goals at the final change.

Millicent clearly entered the last quarter determined to make their mark with Bell Coghlan entering the clash at wing defence and Lisa Duldig moving to centre, and it was Facey’s best return for the match as she netted 14 from 18 as Verbena, Duldig and Daisy Tunkin continually found the Saints shooter in space.

That final quarter blitz was also a result of an amped up defensive performance as well, with the Cats only generating 11 scoring opportunities to the Saints’ 22.

Verbena and Duldig were the main architects of the victory in a match where the Saints were missing first choice goal keeper Portia McRae, while Humphries and Madalene Cleary, as they have been most of the season, were best for the Cats.

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