Tigers power back to top four

NORTH GAMBIER V CASTERTON SANDFORD

In round 15 of the 2022 Western Border Netball Association season, North Gambier finally had its preferred starting seven out on the court but it was too good to be true with Brianna Walters missing.

However, the Tigers were still able to produce a strong four quarter performance to win their way back into the top four.

Casterton Sandford is also getting used to life without Scarlett Jarrad, who has succumbed to a season-ending knee injury and it was an issue of supply for the Cats, who just could not find an easy path through the tough Tigers defence.

In the first half it was Zahra Crough and Mel Renko, while in the second half it was Crough and Lauran Norman and with the pressure out the front from Libby Morgan and Ash Kalantarian, every scoring opportunity was hard earned.

At the other end, North’s ball movement and delivery into Macey Griffith and Caroline Wakefield was just too slick and precise despite the tight checking of Ebany Jarrad and Charlotte Rice, while Wakefield was also supremely accurate, netting 56 from 64.

North did try a new combination in the second half, swinging Renko into the middle for a rare outing, whille Kalantarian moved back to her usual wing attack role and Norman headed into the defensive circle.

The Cats also looked to shake things up, moving the athletic Caeleigh Humphries into the middle for the second half and bringing the tenacious Claire Foster onto the defensive wing to add more physical pressure to the defensive end.

Humphries and experienced goal attack Madalene Cleary were best for the Cats, while Griffith and Wakefield were unstoppable in goals.

SOUTH GAMBIER

V WEST GAMBIER

West Gambier franked its premiership credentials with a dominating first half against South Gambier, who had no answer to the relentless pressure and the slick ball movement of the Roos at Blue Lake Sports Park.

The 40-11 half-time scoreline told the story and while the Demons were a much-improved outfit in the second half, the damage had been done and the final scoreline of 77-39 saw the Demons slip out of the top four, leaving them with the task of beating Millicent this weekend to see if they can move back into the finals line-up for 2022.

The West Gambier win was built on defensive work right across the court and what balls did make it through the mid-court was often turned over by Amy Cram and Jade Ritter.

Tara Bryant controlled the mid-court with her hard running and speed on the drive and she continued to deliver the ball to Lisa McGregor and Sarah Ritter in good position and the accuracy on the finish ensured the scoreboard was lopsided.

In the first half the Roos converted 40 of their 47 shots and that weight of supply, compared with South’s 20 attempts, showed just how dominant the visitors were.

South did have to juggle its line-up in the opening quarter when a blood rule forced a reshuffle and that did not help the home side’s cause either, but in the end West was just too strong.

Sophie Wight – who was filling for the unavailable Megan Reid – had a good battle with Bryant, especially given their gap in experience in the top grade, while Ruby Richter was strong on the defensive wing and a key player in transition.

Bryant and Cram were the Roos’ best, while Sarah Ritter and McGregor continue to be a high-scoring shooting combination.

EAST GAMBIER V MILLICENT

Millicent was in control of its clash with East Gambier for the first three quarters at McDonald Park on Saturday.

The Saints led by six, nine and 12 goals respectively at each change before the Bulldogs powered back hard in the final quarter to trim the final deficit to six.

The only real concern for Millicent was how for the second successive week, a game that was in hand became a nail-biter courtesy of a last quarter fade-out – the previous round it ended in a draw.

Millicent shooter Tabatha Sanderson was strong around the post for the visitors and the supply she received from Demi Verbena, Paige Nitschke and Lisa Duldig was perfect with the slick ball movement not allowing East defenders Morgan Amy and Bo Creek to have an impact on the scoring.

At the other end, the defensive pressure of the Saints was also on full display as Portia McRae, Hannah Nitschke, Georgia Clarke and Duldig held up the Bulldogs and made it difficult for the reigning premier’s goalers to secure enough ball to stay in touch on the scoreboard.

Amryn Bosko was the key target for East in the opening half and she finished with good accuracy but it was not until the final quarter where East had enough scoring opportunities for her and Sarah Lock to shine, netting 15 from 16.

The hard running of Tarsh McCallum was also critical for East, but in the end the Saints were basically in control with Sanderson holding strongly, Duldig leading the mid court and the young defensive end continuing to get the job done.

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