MILLICENT V WEST GAMBIER
West Gambier clearly came to play and got off to a flyer against the Saints with Sarah Ritter continuing her dominant season under the post, netting 16 from 17 as the Roos worked their way to a seven goal quarter time lead. Ritter was well serviced by Tara Bryant through the mid court and her shooting partner Lisa McGregor, while at the other end, Amy Cram and Jade Ritter combined to apply good defensive pressure, resulting in the turnover ball that allowed the Roos to build that lead.
At the first break, Hannah Nitschke and Kimmi Tincknell switched roles, Nitschke moving to the defensive wing and Tincknell to goal defence and that move, plus improved accuracy from their shooters saw the Saints fight back immediately, winning the second quarter by one to start to work their way back. The supply to Ritter was significantly reduced in this quarter but McGregor stepped up to be the dominant target as Bryant continued to significantly influence the contest with her hard running.
The third quarter turned out to be decisive, as Millicent dominated the contest, creating more turnover ball than they had in the first half just in this quarter and using their trademark speed of ball and precise delivery to score at will. Lucy Denton and Demi Verbena combined to score 21 from 25 as West suffered from a lack of supply and were it not for the accuracy of Ritter, converting all 10 of her opportunities, the scoreline might have been worse.
It saw Millicent take the lead by two going into the last and the final quarter followed a similar script to the third and Denton and Verbena continued to combine well, sharing the shooting load and scoring 20 from 24, while Tincknell got more important touches to ensure the Saints had the edge.
It was another heartening performance from the young Roos line-up, who injected Zoe Malseed into the contest at half time, to bring her speed and creative feeding to the contest, but having got the jump on the reigning titleholders, West will certainly be looking at ways to consolidate those advantages and not letting sides back into the contest.
Millicent, also with a new look line-up and still missing tall shooter Tabatha Sanderson, continue to find a way when challenged.
NORTH GAMBIER V SOUTH GAMBIER
After a sub-par performance against West Gambier the previous round, South Gambier brought the intensity and focus needed for an A Grade game to it clash with North Gambier. Missing young goaler Lara Munro, who was playing in an indigenous representative game, the Demons welcomed back Imi Walker and she had an immediate impact in the opening quarter with her strong takes and accurate finishing.
In the early going it was a goal for goal contest and then Tigers sharpshooter Caroline Davey was forced from the court with a blood nose, bringing Lauran Norman into the clash. The young shooter continues to show promise when given the opportunity and she played out the quarter with the scores tied at the first change, when Davey was able to return.
In the second quarter, the Tigers started to find their groove, with Maddie Whaites and Noni McConnell forcing some turnover ball that was not there in the opening stanza, while Mel Renko also got some important touches in centre. The Demons did stay with the Tigers though, as the mother-daughter defensive combination of Brandi and Ellie Bouchier refused to allow the Tigers easy access to their shooters, while Grace Edwards was strong under the post for South and at the main break North had worked its way to a two goal lead.
The third quarter was the decisive quarter of the game, with Davey getting off the leash netting 16 from 18, as North started to really deny the Demons scoring opportunities at the other end, as errors started to creep into their transition play. North won the quarter by nine as Renko continued to dominate and Ellen Brown, who was the perfect foil for Davey as she used her speed and ability to draw a defender and opened up space for her shooting partner.
Brown was a key in transition and also delivered the ball to Davey with accuracy and finished her own opportunities when required throughout the match. The Demons refused to fall away this week though and the switch of Ellie Bouchier back onto Davey and Brandi Bouchier out to goal defence, saw the defensive duo again pick up some key turnover ball but the accuracy of Davey, 15 from 16 for the quarter, ensured North stayed in control, claiming the match win by 13 goals.