NORTH GAMBIER V EAST GAMBIER
North Gambier celebrated the long-awaited opening of its new clubrooms on Saturday and after the formalities the A Grade girls backed it up with a massive victory over East Gambier in round 6 of Western Border netball.
Both the Tigers and Bulldogs had players missing and it saw “Miss Fix It” Lauran Norman take the goal keeper bib, while Cara Nulty debuted on the attacking wing.
Issues, too, for the Bulldogs, with Amryn Bosko unavailable due to illness and Sarah Lock injuring her calf in the warm up, leaving the goal attack role to Tarsh McCallum, who teamed with Renee Henke.
It was locked away at the first change, with North then securing a four-goal lead by half time.
That was extended to five at the final change before a perfect final quarter shooting performance from Caroline Wakefield and Macey Griffith saw the home side home by six.
In the end, the fact North had a bonafide shooting combination – while East was trying to fill some holes – told, with the 50 from 57 proving the difference in the match.
East put up 65 shots so there was a clear arm wrestle when it came to time in possession.
Given North debuted Nulty, Elyse Willoughby, who spent a quarter on the defensive wing and had Norman plying her third position this year in A Grade, the win was meritorious.
Wakefield’s leadership, the hard running of Brianna Walters and some tough defensive players from Mel Renko and Norman eventually proved the difference, while for East, Tyne Bosko continued her stellar form on the defensive wing and Emily Hunter provided the drive through the mid court.
SOUTH GAMBIER V MILLICENT
The Saints were missing first choice goaling combination Tabatha Sanderson and Demi Verbena but with replacements the calibre of SA 17 and Under goal shooter Annelise Janssen and Paige Nitschke – who often fills a shooting role for Millicent – South was always still going to have to be at their best to cause the upset.
The opening quarter was a tight affair with Millicent enjoying a three goal lead.
Despite some second quarter inaccuracy, Millicent extended its lead, as much due to the defensive efforts of Portia McRae, Hannah Nitschke and Georgia Clarke as anything, with the defensive line restricting South to only 10 scoring opportunities, compared with the Saints’ 25.
The Demons upped the ante in the third, with Alyssa Duncan not just finding more space but also finishing accurately with seven from eight but with Millicent again finding their radar, netting 15 from 18 as a combination, the lead extended to 14 at the final change.
A perfect 10 from 10 from Lara Munro and an improved defensive effort from the home side saw South win the final quarter, but, only just and the final margin was 12.
The Demons just made too many unforced errors, while the relentless pressure from the Saints also forced a number of errors the Millicent players were only too happy to capitalise on.
South goalkeeper Grace Edwards had a strong four quarter performance in her battle with Janssen, while Munro and Duncan had their moments when the Millicent defence allowed.
In the end, Millicent was able to control the contest, as well as giving Lauren Van Eeden another taste of top grade action and Kayleigh Taylor also injected into the mid court in a testament to the Saints’ depth.
CASTERTON SANDFORD V WEST GAMBIER
West Gambier stamped its authority on its clash with Casterton Sandford early as the 24-9 opening quarter set up the comfortable victory.
Sarah Ritter was the player doing the damage as she netter 19 from 22, to go with Lisa McGregor’s perfect five from five as West inflicted their slick ball movement on the Cats defence.
The hard running of Tara Bryant and her strong connection with Ritter and McGregor was proving tough to stop for the home side and were it not for the accurate finishing of young Cats shooter Chloe Foster, the score line could have been worse.
Ritter backed up her explosive opening quarter with a perfect 17 from 17 in the second but it was a more competitive quarter from the Cats across the court.
Madalene Cleary started to work her way into the contest at goal attack, while defensively, Charlotte Rice and Caeleigh Humphries, courtesy of some strong work out front from Tessa Marra and Scarlett Jarrad, were able to deny the Roos shooting combination as many scoring opportunities and at the main break it was a 26-goal game.
The Cats circle defenders swapped bibs at the half and the pressure on the Rios attack line did improve and the home side only lost the quarter by two, with Cleary again dominating the shooting stakes courtesy of her strong connection with the hard running Gaby Tomkins.
It was not as polished performance from the Roos in the third and the final quarter also saw a more competitive effort from the Cats, who, in the end, only went down by six goals in the second half.
West has arguably had the most settled line-up of all the A Grade teams in the competition thus far and they continue to be a well-oiled machine, not just working well with ball in hand but also pressuring opposition teams into error courtesy of their relentless defence.