MILLICENT 68 d EAST GAMBIER 49
A FINAL margin of 19 goals against the reigning premier is often considered impressive at this stage of the Western Border netball season, but East Gambier would have hoped for a closer margin.
It was not until the third quarter the game was taken completely out of the Bulldogs’ control, but in the end the Saints prevailed to remain undefeated.
Saturday’s wet weather made for a slower paced game than a usual Millicent versus East encounter and careful netball was seen from both sides in the opening quarter, which the Bulldogs won by a goal.
The second term was more of the same, but the move of Hannah Nitschke from the defensive wing into goal defence gave the East forward line something to think about.
The young defender, who normally calls wing defence home, took on the toughest task in Western Border netball – denying Tenille Gray too much ball – and while Gray was still East’s best over the course of the four quarters, Nitschke certainly made the Bulldogs work hard to find the star goaler in good shooting position.
Lucy Denton took the wing defence bib in that second quarter as Millicent looked to find some better rhythm, both offensively and defensively.
A stronger second term saw Millicent hold a four-goal advantage at half time.
Keeping the reigning premiers quiet for four quarters can be a tough ask and by their own admission the Bulldogs were not at their best in terms of their usual defensive pressure and intensity across the court.
That drop of intensity proved costly in the third quarter and allowed Millicent to hit the scoreboard hard.
By the final change the margin was 16 goals.
Hayley Dunn sprung into action in the third quarter, hunting ball high in the goal third and creating a swag of turnovers, showing why she was such an important cog in the Western Border’s SA
Country Championship winning campaign and why she was selected in the Championship Top 10.
With Donna Denton controlling the offensive end, the Saints started to really hit the scoreboard, while East made errors, which had not been there in the first half.
East’s cause was not helped when Tyne Bosko was forced from the court for most of the third term with a blood nose, giving sister Amryn the opportunity to hit the A Grade court again.
In the final quarter, Millicent’s Madi Haggett came back to the goal defence position, Lisa Duldig went to wing defence and Lucy Denton took the centre bib as East regrouped a little to end up with the final 19-goal margin.
Gray was again a standout for the Bulldogs, while Tarsh McCallum was her usual consistent self and Tyne Bosko was the best of the defensive players.
Britany Ross enjoyed one of her better outings as a Bulldog, with accurate finishing and creating good space for shooting partner Gray.
Donna Denton and Dunn brought their usual class to the contest, while Hannah Nitschke was impressive in her efforts against Gray.
NORTH GAMBIER 44 d SOUTH GAMBIER 36
IT continues to be hard work for North Gambier, but it managed to rack up another win in Saturday’s seventh round of Western Border netball, when it claimed a hard-fought eight-goal victory over South Gambier at Blue Lake Sports Park.
Much like the Anzac Day clash, the Tigers maintained the slim upper hand throughout the match, while the Demons continued to fight back to stay in the contest.
Audine Bryant debuted for South to give the Demons some much needed on-court leadership and her speed and delivery was impressive from the first whistle.
There were still too may errors with passing choices and execution from the Demons and North defenders Maddie Whaites, Noni McConnell and Mel Renko were more than happy to snap up the misguided balls.
Neither side enjoyed particularly smooth transition, although the pace and ability to hit the circle of young Tiger Ellen Brown was pivotal for her team, while Sarah Nulty looked comfortable and right at home in A Grade company with her well-timed moves and accurate finishing.
Her battle with South’s best, Alyce Pearce-Raisin, was the match-up of the game.
Nulty was cool under pressure, while Pearce-Raisin created plenty of turnover ball for the Demons – back to her best as she took off down court, read the play and cleanly intercepted even safe passes.
Her work off the centre pass was particularly impressive, although a calf injury late in the match will be cause for concern for the already undermanned Demons, who will miss Alyssa Duncan and both Tara and Audine Bryant for the next few rounds.
Tori McIntyre also looks to have settled into the goal keeper role for South and her footwork and athleticism allowed her to make things a little tougher for Alisha Bryan, who still had an impact with her strong holds and ability to set screen for her niece, Nulty.
North held a three-goal lead at the first break, seven at the half and then, while South worked its way back as close as four goals in the third, the Tigers were able to work their way back to an eight-goal margin.
From there the guests were never seriously challenged.
South’s shooting combination of Duncan and Imogen Walker showed promise, but certainly need some more time to ensure a better understanding of the space in the circle.
Tara Bryant, playing with her mother for the first time in A Grade company, placed some good balls into the circle and given she was playing one of the toughest wing defenders in the competition, she hit the circle hard and released the ball with confidence.
For North Brown and Nulty were easily their side’s best, while Whaites continues to anchor the defensive end and Renko, who moved into centre after a straight swap with Ash Kalantarian in the final quarter, was all class.
WEST GAMBIER 54 d CASTERTON SANDFORD 39
IT seems West Gambier’s A Grade netball side is doomed to never play Casterton Sandford at full strength.
This time key defender Maddy Teakle and mid-courter Carlee Ransom were sidelined for the clash, forcing the Roos to again put together a makeshift line-up.
They slotted Nikeisha Facey into her first start and four-quarter performance in A Grade at goal keeper, with Jordan Freeman backing up her performance on the defensive wing with a move to the attacking wing to replace Ransom.
Facey brought her stellar form from the championship winning 17 and Under SA Country Championship team, while Freeman used her pace to great effect as West managed to record a 15-goal victory.
The opening quarter was solid from both teams and West took a four-goal lead into the first break.
It was the second quarter the Roos set up their win and the Cats could not recover from a 12-goal half-time deficit.
The Roos found shooter Tahlia Earl in good space as Emily Hunter, Lisa McGregor and Freeman started to find some good synergy.
West’s transition down court after a turnover was seamless in the second quarter as Amy Cram and Carly Trevilyan blocked easy access to the circle for the Cats.
The scoreline would have been more one sided were it not for the accuracy of Cats coach Christine Harris, who was at her accurate best from long range.
The Cats swung the changes at the main break in a bid to work their way back into the contest.
Gabby Sullivan entered the clash on the attacking wing, with Gaby Tomkins moving to centre and Madalene Cleary making a rare return to goal defence – a role in which she was outstanding as part of Western Border’s victorious SA Country Championship A Grade side.
The scoreboard certainly suggests the moves were successful as Tomkins had more influence once freed from the shackles of a tight-checking Trevilyan, while Cleary was able to slow the scoring from the Roos.
Facey grew into her role, rebounding strongly and picking up some important touches for West, as the Cats held on to only drop three goals in the second half.
Trevilyan and Freeman were best for West, while Harris and Jarrad – who has arguably been the Cats’ best in 2019 – got the job done for Casterton Sandford.