NORTH GAMBIER V WEST GAMBIER
The first quarter between North Gambier and West Gambier at Vansittart Park set the tone for the contest.
It was going to be a high scoring affair – and that is how it panned out as West scored over 80 goals for the second successive week, taking the win 81-61.
The opening quarter was a high scoring 21-18 in favour of the visitors as the two in form goal shooters – West’s Sarah Ritter and North’s Caroline Wakefield went toe to toe.
Ritter netted 17 from 20 and Wakefield converted 15 from 16 and it was basically up to each team to work out the best way to limit the scoring opportunities for the 2021 Team of the Year goalers.
North youngster Alysha Coon had the job on Ritter and the inexperienced defender did her best to deny Ritter easy ball but the weight of supply proved too much.
Ritter nailed 18 from 23 as West surged to an 11-goal half time lead and 17 from 20 in the third to see the Roos going into the last with a 19 goal lead.
Wakefield continued to be accurate as well but just did not see anywhere near as much of the ball and in the end North’s 74 scoring shots to West’s 96 told the story, with both sides finishing accurately.
The respective goal attacks were also in good form in this match and were the key feeders on the day – Lisa McGregor, who swapped bibs with Ritter in the final quarter, for the winners and rising star Macey Griffith for North.
The respective mid courts matched each other for hard running but both sides would probably like to up the ante with defensive pressure and slow the ball movement of their opposition.
Sides looking to beat top of the table West will definitely need to do that or the Roos will continue to build wins on their prolific scoring, which not only has topped the 80 goal mark the last two rounds but was 70-plus the previous round.
EAST GAMBIER V SOUTH GAMBIER
It was tantamount to an elimination final and reigning premiers East Gambier showed they are still invested in their premiership defence with a stunning opening 10 minutes in its Western Border netball battle against South Gambier at Blue Lake Sports Park.
The Bulldogs powered to an 11-2 lead on the back of Demons’ errors, a strong defensive effort from Emily Hunter, a dominance in the air of defenders Morgan Amy and Chloe Perryman and the accurate finishing of Amryn Bosko and Sarah Lock.
The young Demons looked all at sea but did regain some composure late to go into the first break seven goals down.
The next two quarters were genuine arm wrestles and while at one stage in the third, the Demons had the lead cut to five and possession, the relentless defensive pressure and their own decision making and execution errors, saw East head into the final quarter with an 11-goal lead.
It went back to one way traffic in the last and the final margin of 18 was reflective of the consistency of the two sides.
Defensively, East contested everything with Amy, Perryman, Tyne Bosko and Hunter not allowing any easy ball in the goal third, while in offence they showed great speed and dare when required and patience, mainly through the work rate of Tarsh McCallum.
The battle between Hunter and Imogen Walker was one for the ages with the two centres hitting the deck regularly as they contested every ball and not surprisingly, both were named their side’s best.
Given the Bulldogs were missing Bo Creek, it was an impressive victory and means it really is do-or-die for the Demons this weekend if they want to break back into the top four.
CASTERTON SANDFORD V MILLICENT
It was always going to be a tough ask and despite Millicent missing tall premiership shooter Tabatha Sanderson for the second successive week, the Saints were able to easily account for Casterton Sandford.
Of course, when the Sanderson replacement is State 17 and Under goal shooter Annelise Janssen, who is equally accurate and just as strong a target, the teenager shot a perfect 16 from 16 in the opening quarter to set the Saints up for a 12 goal quarter time lead.
It was a strong opening from the Cats as well, with Ivy Lane also enjoying a perfect shooting performance but the difference was the amount of supply.
Janssen was sidelined in the second and third quarter with Paige Nitschke taking the goal shooter bib and while there was no height in the Millicent goal circle, the speed of ball and smart movement of Nitschke and Demi Verbena ensured the scoreboard kept ticking over and between them, the duo shot 34 from 38 in the second and third.
Lane and Madalene Cleary are certainly starting to gel as a shooting combination, while Makayla Hutchins has injected some speed into the Cats mid court that complements the hard running and tenacity of Scarlett Jarrad in centre.
Ebany Jarrad had arguably her best game for 2022 on the defensive wing, taking on three different opponents and making life tough for whichever Saints feeder came her way.
The 12-goal quarter time lead for Millicent became 35 at the final whistle, but scoring 40 goals of their own would have been a source of pride for the Cats.
Portia McRae was outstanding in the goal keeper position for Millicent, often taking risks and hunting the interception, working hard over the shot and dominating the rebounding duel.