North Gambier 51 d West Gambier 40
IN what was expected to be a tight affair, West Gambier hosted North Gambier for Round 8 of Western Border netball and eventually succummed by 11 goals.
It was a game where the defenders had the upper hand and while both sides showed glimpses of offensive flow, for the most part, it was hard work scoring.
North worked its way to an early four-goal lead in the first term as Lisa Fyfe created plenty of turnover ball and Kaitlin Smith was able to find the circle’s edge and feed Caroline Davey with ease.
But the Roos settled – tightening the screws at the defensive end and showing better patience in offence – and by the first change the Tigers lead was only one.
The second quarter was all about the Tigers as they continued to pile on the defensive pressure, especially through the mid court, with Fyfe continuing to have an impact with her ability to steal the ball, and Mel Renko ensuring the feeders had no easy ball and often forcing errors with her tight checking.
Amanda O’Shaughnessy and Smith seemed to have endless space to quickly transition the ball and with 18-from-18 from Davey, the scoreboard reflected North’s dominance.
By the main break, the margin was 10 and in the final wash up that was the quarter that cost the Roos any chance of an upset.
To their credit, the Roos came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the second half and started to try and mount a comeback.
They moved Carlee Davey into centre to try and break the shackles of Renko and the Roo mid-courter found some better feeding space and her usual solid connections with both Tahlia Earl and Lisa McGregor.
North’s defenders started to attract some more whistle and it allowed the West goalers to earn some shots in good shooting position, McGregor having her best quarter for the match with seven-from-seven.
Davey was again pivotal for the Tigers as she put in another perfect shooting performance with 10 straight but Nicole Butler and Amy Cram did start to shut down the space in the North shooting circle and Carly Trevilyan also started to deny Smith the same easy access to the circle’s edge as she had in the first half.
Going into the last, the margin was eight goals and North opted to swing the changes with O’Shaughnessy heading into the shooting circle, Emily Pietsch to the defensive wing and Renko into the middle.
O’Shaughnessy’s pace on the front cut certainly opened up the Tigers shooting circle, while at the other end, Fyfe and Maddie Whaites were able to create enough turnover ball to ensure the Tigers stayed in control and took the points with that 11-goal final margin.
Renko was a standout for the Tigers, while Smith showed when she is given space she can be damaging on the attacking wing.
Davey was also critical with her 46 from 52, snaring many of her own rebounds as well, while Fyfe and Whaites continue to work well as a defensive duo.
For the Roos, Olivia McEvoy ran hard all day and had a impact at both ends of the court, while Earl was the focal point in the shooting circle.
Butler and Cram certainly didn’t allow easy ball into the Tigers shooting circle but in the end, the second quarter lapse in concentration at both ends of the court proved costly.
The Roos will look forward to facing North again with the view of producing a four-quarter effort.