Saints score important win

MILLICENT V WEST GAMBIER

After a tight opening half, Millicent put in a strong third quarter to set up an important 10 goal victory over West Gambier in the top of the table Western Border netball clash.

In what many believe to be the most likely grand final contest, both sides were at full strength as they looked to get the upper hand ahead of the 2022 finals.

As expected, the respective shooters were front and centre, with Tabatha Sanderson returning to the court for the Saints for the first time in a couple of weeks and Sarah Ritter providing a strong target at the other end for the Roos.

Sanderson was rusty early on the finish but her second half saw her convert 29 from 30 as the Saints powered to victory.

Demi Verbena has been having an outstanding season and was again crucial with her speed, ability to find space and accurate delivery to Sanderson.

Ritter was also at her accurate best, finishing the match with 46 from 52.

West enjoyed a one goal lead at the first change but it was the Saints by one at the half.

Perfect shooting from the Saints in the third quarter – 19 from 19 – saw the home side get value for every turnover created from the defensive line of Hannah Nitschke, Portia McRae and Lisa Duldig.

They moved to wing defence for the second half, leaving Georgia Clarke to run the centre and it proved a decisive quarter, taking the lead out to seven before the final margin of 10.

The two sides have now played three quality matches in the minor rounds, setting the scene for an intriguing finals series.

Tara Bryant’s hard running through the middle was again pivotal for the Roos, who would be looking to up the ante with the defensive pressure next time the two meet, with turnovers a little hard to come by in this round 13 clash.

EAST GAMBIER V CASTERTON SANDFORD

Reigning premiers East Gambier are starting to look ominous as they build towards the 2022 finals after knocking off Casterton Sandford.

Missing key defender Bo Creek, star mid courter Emily Hunter and in-form goaler Sarah Lock, the Bulldogs were dominant in their victory over Casterton Sandford, setting the tone with an 18-3 opening quarter and never taking their foot off the pedal.

Led by consistent mid courter Tarsh McCallum, with Teagan Gray taking the goal attack bib, experienced mid courter Brooke Hicks on the attacking wing and Sharna McKinnon filling the defensive role, the Bulldogs were never troubled.

The Cats did hit back hard in the second, winning the quarter by two but it was one-way traffic again in the second half, with McCallum finding great connection with Amryn Bosko, who finished accurately, netting 44 from 50 in a stunning display of composure.

Talented junior Indi Dwyer earned her A Grade debut in the final quarter and the teenager acquitted herself well in her first taste of senior action.

Scarlett Jarrad was again the Cats best with her hard two way running, while Madalene Cleary worked over time at goal attack despite the lack of supply in terms of scoring opportunities.

Morgan Amy enjoyed a rare run at goal defence and combining with Tyne Bosko and McKinnon, there were plenty of turnovers created as East continued building momentum as the Bulldogs look to maintain their spot in the top four and a shot at back to back titles.

NORTH GAMBIER V SOUTH GAMBIER

It was absolutely a must win clash for the Demons and after three tight quarters, South Gambier made it two wins from three outings in 2022 against North Gambier, keeping their slim finals hopes alive.

It was all about scoring in the opening quarter, which ended at 19-all, with both shooting duos on song, North missing one for the quarter and South three.

At halftime North had a one goal advantage and at three quarter time the Tigers lead was three.

Whatever stand in coach Felicity Walker said at three quarter time, though, worked with the Demons dominating the final quarter to secure a seven-goal victory.

The final quarter dominance was built on a vastly improved defensive effort by South, with Ellie Bouchier and Grace Edwards denying Caroline Wakefield and Macey Griffith time and space and creating plenty of turnover ball.

The good news for South was Lara Munro was on song in the final quarter and her 15 straight ensured the Demons dominance was reflected on the scoreboard.

The Tigers were missing first choice defensive duo Mel Renko and Zahra Crough but it was only in the final quarter the teenage defensive duo of Elyse Willoughby and Lauran Norman were unable to limit South’s scoring.

The matchup between North’s Brianna Walters and South’s Megan Reid was one of the best on the day and as the centres broke even, Ash Kalantarian stepped up for the Tigers to continually connect with Wakefield.

Bouchier was critical for the Demons, especially in the final quarter, while Munro’s accurate finishing was also a key to the win.

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