North claims victory in big cat clash

NORTH GAMBIER VS CASTERTON SANDFORD

The Cats welcomed back a former star at the weekend, but it was not enough to get them over the line against an ever-improving North Gambier building towards the business end of the season.

Tayla Guthrie was on hand to shore up the Casterton Sandford defence line, but she had one of the toughest jobs in the Western Border A Grade competition – denying Caroline Davey easy ball and a load of scoring opportunities.

Unfortunately for the Cats, Davey was a key factor with a best-on-court performance that  saw her net 45 from 53, as the Tigers took control of the contest early and built on their dominance to secure a 38-goal victory.

Despite the disruption of two blood rule infringements that saw Lauran Norman take to the court twice for North Gambier, once in the mid-court and once in her more familiar role of goal attack, the Tigers were unfazed with a consistent four-quarter performance.

Noni McConnell was also influential for the Tigers as her tight checking, willingness to contest and ability to read the play and hunt the intercept ensured there was plenty of turnover ball for North.

Mel Renko and Brianna Walters connected those defensive efforts with the shooting circle  with Ellen Brown and Davey and the conversion rate ensuring the scoreboard was always  in the Tigers’ favour.

It was the experienced players for the Cats that led the way with coach Tori Broomby again being her side’s best alongside 300- gamer Scarlett Jarrad.

Broomby continues to be the general of the Casterton Sandford attack line, while Jarrad inspires with her work rate.

Despite the comfortable margin the Cats would be pleased to have only conceded 62  goals to the powerhouse Tigers who have regularly scored around that mark against other  opposition.

MILLICENT VS SOUTH GAMBIER

The clash at McLaughlin Park between Millicent and South Gambier started like their round two clash – the Demons matched the reigning premiers and at quarter time the Saints held a slender three-goal lead.

A perfect shooting performance from Lara Munro and the strong holding of shooter  Grace Edwards, combined with some important defensive touches from Brandi Bouchier  and Ellie Bouchier, led to most of the quarter becoming a goal-for-goal contest.

It not for turnovers created by young Saints’ keeper Portia McRae the Demons might have been even closer.

Tabatha Sanderson was always going to be the biggest headache for the Demons, with the returning shooter netting 16 from 19 in the  opening quarter, followed by 19 in the second as the Saints started to take control.

By half time the margin was 13 as the speed of ball from Lucy Denton, Demi Verbena and Paige Nitschke started to become difficult for the Demons defence line to control.

The defensive effort from the Saints also stepped up as they looked to shut down the Demons well before the ball reached Munro and Edwards.

The third quarter put the result beyond doubt as the tight checking pressure from Denton and Lisa Duldig started to see a high error rate from the Demons.

With Sanderson and Nitschke finishing  strongly from their high number of opportunities, the three-quarter time margin was 21  with the Saints looking to continue to pressure South into mistakes and capitalise at the other end.

In the end, the Saints were just too good.

The classy delivery from Denton, Verbena and Nitschke ensured Sanderson was an almost unstoppable scoring machine, scoring 70 of Millicent’s goals.

At the other end-despite missing Hannah Nitschke who was sidelined through illness – the defence not only had great contributions from Duldig, McRae and Kimmi Tincknell but found a great back up in Ellis as the reigning premiers continue to fine-tune ahead of the 2021 finals series.

EAST GAMBIER VS WEST GAMBIER

The Bulldogs remain undefeated but the injury count is starting to add to the challenge of a season that has East Gambier as the clear premiership favourite.

Already missing Tyne Bosko who is still recovering from a friendly-fire incident at the SA Country Championships on the June  long weekend, the Bulldogs now face potentially a month without star mid-courter Tarsh  McCallum after she was forced from the court with an injury that has threatened to do exactly  what is has – sideline her for some much- needed recovery time.

Despite losing McCallum early, forcing a reshuffle where youngster Kate Dempsey  moved from the defensive wing to the attacking wing and Chloe Perryman again promoted  to the A Grade defensive wing, East managed to hold on for am eight goal victory.

Dempsey arguably looked even more at home on the attacking wing and that should come as no surprise given she announced  herself as a genuine contender for a permanent senior role in the 2019 finals series, while  Perryman brings tenacity and physical presence to the defensive end in the absence of  Bosko.

The opening quarter was an even affair ending with a tied score line of 14 apiece.

It was the second quarter where the damage was done, where turnover ball from Bo Creek – who celebrated her 250th appearance for East at the weekend – and a strong shooting performance from Tenille Gray and  Amryn Bosko helped convert 16 from 20 to set up a six-goal half time lead.

The second half was an arm wrestle but the Roos needed to be able to overcome the deficit and just could not make the inroads required.

Jade Ritter got important touches at the  defensive end and with sister Sarah continuing to be a strong focal point at the other  end of the court West had their chances – but just not enough of them.

Sarah Ritter started the match with 11 straight goals and then continued to be  critical, with her third quarter also out-standing, netting 11 from 13 but in the end.

Creek did enough to curb the scoring, by going one-on-one with Ritter and by hunting the interception throughout the goal third.

The Roos continue to challenge the top sides and seem to build each week.

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