The first week of the 2016 Cobar Netball Association finals series produced the upset of the competition with the competition newcomers, the 15s, defeating the experienced Cougars in a nail biting game.
Ahead by three goals in their first quarter on Saturday, the 15s dominated the mid court and fed shooter Lauren Urquhart strong, fast balls which she was able to convert to points.
The 15s continued to dominate during the second quarter with Hannah Carroll strong in defence, controlling the Cougars’ attacking circle and shutting down the Cougars shooters by taking multiple intercepts and rebounds throughout the circle.
The 15s’ coach Amie Hill praised her entire young side commenting that the 15s full court defensive pressure was “outstanding”.
In the third quarter, the Cougars rallied and threatened to bring the 15s undone, and came within two goals of the 15s.
The experience and court presence of the Cougars’ Karlee Anderson, Reina Cross and Shae Martin almost got them over the line, but it was the 15s who held strong and were able to win the thriller, 34-32.
The 15s will now come up against training partners the Opens team who had a big win over SPARKS in the other A Grade elimination final on Saturday.
Playing with six players, the SPARKS, while outplayed by the Opens, showed grit and determination to complete four solid quarters of fast paced netball.
Johanna Strahl, a newcomer to netball, was best for the SPARKS along with goal defence Regena Nasser.
Strahl certainly gave Opens’ defenders Alex Hernando and Erin Cupper cause to scramble in defence through the midcourt.
Zoë Harland was once again the Opens most accurate shooter and, when later moved to Wing Attack, Harland fired some great passes into her shooter Briana Francisco. Kym Sutton, Bianka Jacobson and Kate Russell all had solid games for the Opens and will need to continue their good form next week in the elimination semi against the 15s.
Saturday’s B Grade elimination final proved to be a tight physical contest with both teams struggling for possession.
With only one goal separating teams in the first quarter, OMG had to work hard to outplay Here for Beer.
Here for Beer’s Chelsie Moeris guided her team around the mid court and gave shooter Prue Chambers the opportunity to score goals from all areas of the circle in the third quarter.
However it was OMG’s defensive combination of Amy Coombes and Celeste Collins that effectively shut down Here for Beer’s attacking end.
Bec Everett had a solid defensive game for Here for Beer, and OMG’s Wendy Byrne combined well with Chloe Ward in their goal circle. But it was a delighted OMG who ran out eventual winners 27-17.
OMG will now play the ever-improving All Sorts in this week’s final. This should be an evenly matched game and an interesting one to watch.
There will be four action packed games on offer this Saturday with two elimination matches and two semi-final games to be played.
A Grade’s minor premiers, Pumpettes, will take on a full-strength Divas team for a place in the grand final while in B Grade, minor premiers Hot Shots will be out to dominate the Mystics to progress to the grand final.
In the elimination semis Opens will play 15s and OMG take on All Sorts to stay alive in the competition. —contributed