WESTERN Border netball was the toast of the South Australian Country Championships on the weekend, returning home with three titles.
The A Grade side boasted the perfect blend of youth and experience to go through the championships undefeated.
Tenille Gray and Hayley Dunn were the standouts at either end of the court, while Emily Hunter was impressive through the midcourt, at both centre and wing defence.
All three players were rewarded for their outstanding three days of netball with selection in the Championship Top 10.
The undefeated A Grade line-up which won a tense title decider against Port Lincoln, dominated the round robin competition.
Dunn teamed up with Casterton Sandford’s Madalene Cleary and East Gambier’s Morgan Amy and both defenders were at their best.
They blended tight-checking defence with the ability to take risks and create turnover ball and were also keys in transition with strong drives.
Demi Verbena and Donna Denton slipped into the shooting circle alongside Gray and whichever combination hit the court worked like clockwork as they moved the ball well around the circle.
Verbena’s pace and Denton’s smarts were the perfect foil to Gray’s strength on the hold and in the air.
The midcourt included Lisa Duldig, who was a superb on-court leader, playing both centre and wing defence.
Tarsh McCallum and Imogen Walker shared the wing attack role and were equally effective, McCallum with her pace and Walker with her strength on the take and smarts.
The 17 and Under team, coached by Audine Bryant, also dominated in the round robin competition, surviving a semi-final scare against the Riverland before taking the title.
Paige Nitschke, Sophie Ellis and Jess Earle got the job done at the shooting end of the court, while Madi Haggett, Nikeisha Facey and Tyne Bosko took on the defensive duties and worked well in combination.
Kayleigh Taylor, Hannah Nitschke, Ellen Brown and Riley Buckingham patrolled the midcourt, working hard defensively and in offence.
Taylor and Brown brought pace to the equation, while Nitschke brought the smarts, as well as the ability to create turnovers just when they were needed, while Buckingham shut down opposition playmakers and also worked hard in transition.
The Sharon Adams coached 15 and Under team also cruised for the most part in the round robin matches, with their major scare coming in the quarter finals.
Alyssa Duncan, Lucy Denton and Amryn Bosko were outstanding in the shooting circle, while Siobhan Adams, Tara Bryant, Kate Dempsey and Sophie O’Connor, who also filled a defensive role, worked hard in the midcourt.
Caeleigh Humphries anchored the defensive end with Portia McRae, teaming with O’Connor and Tully McShane, who also slotted into the mid court as well.
The 13 and Under team, coached by Karen Gould, was a team of SA Country Championship debutants, but they worked hard and had some great performances over the weekend.
The team included Ellie Xanthopoulos, Annelise Janssen, Cara Nulty, Ava Collins, Abby Denton, Poppy Venn, Lauren Van Eeden, Macey Griffith, Stella Mobbs and Chelsea Ryan.
Thanks go to Karli Earle who took on the umpiring duties.
A GRADE: Western Border 32 (T. Gray, E. Hunter, H. Dunn) d North Eastern 17; Western Border 32 (I. Walker, L. Duldig) d Eastern Eyre 30; Western Border 40 (T. McCallum, M. Cleary) d Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara 19; Western Border 46 (D. Verbena, M. Amy) d River Murray 16; Western Border 31 (H. Dunn, L. Duldig, D. Verbena) d Mid South East 21; Western Border 36 (I. Walker, D. Denton, T. McCallum d Whyalla 24; Western Border 27 (T. Gray, E. Hunter) d Kowree Naracoorte Tataira 22; Western Border 39 (M. Amy, M. Cleary) d Port Lincoln 21.
SEMI-FINAL: Western Border 29 d Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara 22.
GRAND FINAL: Western Border 27 d Port Lincoln 24.
17 and UNDER: Western Border 27 (E. Brown, K. Taylor) d Eastern Eyre 18; Western Border 32 (T. Bosko, N. Facey) d River Murray 21; Western Border 36 (P. Nitschke, S. Ellis, M. Haggett) d Northern Areas 16; Western Border 33 (H. Nitschke, N. Facey) d Port Augusta 13; Western Border 33 (P. Nitschke, M. Haggett) d Port Pirie 23. Western Border 30 (T. Bosko, S. Ellis) d Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara 19; Western Border 15 (H. Nitschle, E. Brown) d Mid Hills 11; Western Border 30 (J. Earle, M. Haggett) d Mid South East 16; Western Border 34 (R. Buckingham, T. Bosko) d Northern Areas 20.
QUARTER-FINAL: Western Border 24 (M. Haggett, E. Brown) d Barossa, Light and Gawler 17.
SEMI-FINAL: Western Border 41 (P. Nitschke, S. Ellis) d Riverland 36 (in overtime).
GRAND FINAL: Western Border 21 d Port Augusta 17.
15 AND UNDER: Western Border 40 d Kangaroo Island 8; Western Border 43 d Far West 15; Western Border 31 d River Murray 19; Western Border 30 d Mid Hills (1) 28; Western Border 36 (A. Bosko, T. Bryant) d Hills 16; Western Border 33 (L. Denton, S. O’Connor) d Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara 18; Western Border 37 (T. McShane, P. McRae) d Port Lincoln 13; Western Border 38 (C. Humphries, K. Dempsey) d Mid South East 14.
QUARTER-FINAL: Western Border 24 (L. Denton, T. Bryant) d Mid Hills (2) 21.
SEMI-FINAL: Western Border 37 (A, Duncan, P. McRae) d Kowree Naracoorte Tataira 24.
GRAND FINAL: Western Border 30 (C. Humphries, S. Adams) d Baroolsa Light and Gawler 19.
13 AND UNDER: Western Border 17 (E. Xanthopoulos, C. Nulty) d Mid Hills 6; Western Border 22 (A. Denton, P. Venn) d Northern Areas 11; Western Border 12 (A. Collins, S. Mobbs) lost to Hills (1) 24; Western Border 21 (M. Griffith, C. Ryan) d Yorke Peninsula 17; Western Border 12 (A. Janssen, L. Van Eeden) lost to Riverland 32; Western Border 16 (E. Xanthopoulos, A. Denton) d Great Southern 14; Western Border 8 (E. Xanthopoulos, C. Ryan) lost to Hills (1) 22; Western Border 10 (C. Nulty, C. Ryan) lost to Kowree Naracoorte Tatiara 26.