Saints survive Tiger scare

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MILLICENT V NORTH GAMBIER

Not even a perfect shooting performance from Caroline Davey could earn North Gambier the premiership points as the new look Saints ground out a two goal victory over a valiant Tigers.

It was neck and neck for the entire four quarters and even when Millicent worked its way to a six goal advantage in the final term the Tigers were not done with, working their way back before the reigning premiers secured the crucial two goal advantage as the final whistle sounded.

North was missing key utility Noni McConnell, who is still looking to shake off a calf injury, while Millicent had no Kimmi Tincknell, the multi-premiership defender, who was ill and unable to take the court.

Tincknell’s absence meant rising star Portia McRae earned her first full game at the top level and while Davey produced a shooting performance with no issues, McRae did create turnover ball at critical times, including a pivotal rebound late in the contest.

North Gambier went into the final quarter one goal ahead and ironically, given Davey’s 100% shooting for the match, it was the Saints who recorded no misses as they secured the two goal win.

Lisa Duldig ran hard all day, putting in a strong defensive performance at wing defence before moving to centre and leading her team home, while Tabatha Sanderson, who nailed 13 straight in the tense final quarter, continued to present and cause headaches for the North defenders.

Davey netted 44 of North’s 59 goals and was a standout for the Tigers, while Brianna Walters backed up her Anzac Day performance, when she took home the Shirley Underwood Medal, with another hard running effort that saw her impact at both ends of the court.

Given North is still tinkering with its line-up, the Tigers would be thrilled with a four quarter performance that saw them match it with the reigning premiers, while for the second successive week, the new look Saints found a way to grind a win.

EAST GAMBIER V SOUTH GAMBIER

East Gambier is making a habit of fast starts and the weekend was no exception as the Bulldogs created a wave of turnover ball, giving goalers Amryn Bosko and Tenille Gray plenty of opportunities to score.

Lisa Fyfe, Bo Creek and Tyne Bosko completely shut the young Demons forward line down, denying time and space, as they continually disrupted their forays forward and the transition was fast and flawless as Emily Hunter drove the middle of the court, connecting with Kate Dempsey, who was taking the role of the absent Tarsh McCallum and then leaving the finishing to Amryn Bosko and Gray.

The first quarter suggested a complete demolition was on the cards and the 73-31 scoreline was dominant but the Demons did have some shining lights and after the polished, unrivalled performance in the first quarter, the Bulldogs did end up in a scrappy affair, completely in control but not afforded the same flow of the first quarter.

Fyfe, Creek and Tyne Bosko continued to make the Demons earn every goal but Grace Edwards had her strongest game under the post against the premier defensive combination in the competition and youngster Lara Munro was not intimidated by her highly-credentialled opponents and continued to present.

Gray was her usual dominant self, controlling the attack line, taking plenty of strong contested balls and finishing accurately, while Amryn Bosko proved to be the perfect foil, playing with composure and presenting just when required with both goalers finishing accurately.

New Demons defender Renee Pluckhahn certainly had her moments despite being matched against the classy Gray, while Alyssa Duncan was the key feeder, making good position on the circle’s edge in what was a tough battle with Tyne Bosko.

East Gambier continues to put the runs on the board and will be anxious to take on the Saints, arguably bearing the burden of favouritism against the reigning premiers, while South Gambier will throw everything at the Cats in both sides’ best chance of a breakthrough victory with new look, inexperienced line-ups.

WEST GAMBIER V CASTERTON SANDFORD

Injuries are not helping Casterton Sandford’s cause as the inexperienced line up  looks to continue to develop and compete against the competition’s best but the Cats can take heart from recoding their highest score for the 2021 season thus far as its young list continues to work hard and learn.

It was always going to be a tough ask against West Gambier with the experience of Carlee Ransom, Amy Cram and Lisa McGregor and then there’s the height of Sarah Ritter and her unassuming sister Jade at the other end of the court so the task, given West had pushed Millicent to the limit the previous week, was enormous.

Natalie Rhook answered Cats coach Tori Broomby’s S.O.S and took the goal keeper bib to cover for Meg Fennell and her leadership in the defensive third was critical, as was Broomby’s in the offensive third as she looks to continue to develop her young line-up.

In the end though, it was all about weight of supply and West had a lion’s share of possession with Sarah Ritter converting at every opportunity, making the most of the hard driving and accurate feeding of Ransom, who was back to her best on the attacking wing.

Madison Mutch ran hard all day for the Cats and her connection with Broomby, who made every post a winner, including converting eight from eight in the second quarter, ensured the Cats kept the scoreboard ticking over with their limited opportunities.

After challenging but not defeating Millicent the previous round, West would be pleased to again put in a polished performance, while the Cats will be turning their attention to hosting South Gambier and their best chance yet for victory.

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