Desert Peas take the 2017 netball title

The 2017 Cobar Netball A Grade champions, Desert Peas: Naomi Whitehurst, Kate Russell, Nikki Gilbert, Jennifer Mitchell, Kaitlyn Clark, Sarah Irvine, Brianna Watson, Alyssa Hearn, Paige Wilson, Karlee Anderson and Reina Cross. They defeated JKM Dynamic Fitness 35-33 in the Grand Final on Saturday. ▪ Photo contributed Desert Peas and Sparks are the 2017 Cobar Netball Association (CNA) champions after the grand finals were played in challenging conditions on Saturday.

With a severe weather warning for damaging winds and temperatures forecast to reach record September highs, CNA officials elected to delay the scheduled start times for the games to the evening.

Despite the inclement conditions, a good crowd of spectators were on hand to watch some great games of netball.

The A grade match between Desert Peas and JKM Dynamic Fitness was played under lights once Saturday’s high winds had died down.

Desert Peas got off to a flying start leading 14-8 at the first break.

Both shooting ends were on fire sinking long range shots but it was the Peas leading 22-18 going into half time.

JKM defenders Bianka Jacobson and Amie Hill had great games and managed to keep Peas’ shooting star Nikki Gilbert at bay.

Peas defenders Naomi Whitehurst, Karlee Anderson and Sarah Irvine continued to
apply pressure to JKM’s shooters, with a number of good rebounds helping ensure Peas held a five shot lead at three quarter time.

The scoreline tightened in the last quarter with JKM down by just one point with three minutes to go but the Peas players kept cool heads to take the victory 35-33.

Desert Peas shooter Kate Russell was named Player of the Grand Final after shooting her heart out and supporting her team mates well through the centre court.

The earlier B Grade match between Sparks and Hotshots was played in much worse conditions with the windy weather sticking around for the start of the game and making shooting very difficult for both ends.

The first quarter was a very close game with Hot Shots holding a 6-4 lead at the first break. The second quarter saw an unchanged line-up for both sides take the court and scores were locked at 13-all at half time.

The hot, windy weather proved challenging for players and just after half time Hot Shots goal attack Sam Vaka was forced to leave the court with breathing difficulties.

Hot Shots reshuffled players positions but found it hard to keep up with Sparks after the loss of their main shooter.

Sparks’ Stephanie Baker had an outstanding game finding the net brilliantly and was well supported by defender Regena Nasser, playing her usual consistent game.

Anita Atuau played a long and hard game in centre for Hot Shots with Stevie Long and Rachael Hadkins also having great games.

Sparks were ahead 40-23 at the final buzzer.

Sparks defender Tyler Chiswick, in her first season with Cobar Netball, was Player of the Grand Final for B Grade.

Following the matches the club members gave their appreciation to major sponsors Cobar Bowling & Golf Club as well as J&K Butchery, KML Industries and Peak Gold Mines who ensured a successful 2017 season.

The club will hold a presentation night next Saturday October 7 with players and supporters reminded to get their tickets from Regional Australia Bank.

Sparks are the 2017 B Grade netball champions after defeating Hot Shots 40-23. Pictured are Ashley Place, Steph Baker, Georgia Baker, Tyler Chiswick, Regena Nasser Georgia Wilson and Seigrid Peters with their cheer squad Harriet Baker and Delilah McBride. ▪ Photo contributed