Semis set up for cracker netball grand finals

JKM Dynamic Fitness goal defence Amie Hill was dominant over The Heat’s Abbey Carswell in the Cobar Netball Association finals on Saturday. ▪ Photo courtesy of Klae McGuinness Photography

This weekend’s women’s Cobar Netball Association grand finals are shaping up to be a cracker if the rest of the finals series is anything to go by.

JKM Dynamic Fitness will take on Desert Peas in this weekend’s A Grade grand final after a hard-fought win over The Heat on the weekend, while in B Grade Sparks defeated Brush Stop to progress to the grand final where they will take on Hot Shots.

The weekend’s A Grade match pitted the young Heat side against an experienced JKM outfit and saw coaches vs young guns and teachers taking on their students.

The Heat were feeling confident after eliminating the 2016 competition winners DCS Divas from the competition the previous week with a 44-30 win.

JKM were on the front foot from the first centre pass with Tanya Gilbert dominating from the first whistle and showing why she is the most skillful centre in the CNA competition. Kym Sutton was accurate with her shots but the outstanding defence of The Heat’s Hannah Carroll made it difficult for the JKM attack to complete their attacking sets and convert points

Mid court players Abby Carswell (Heat), Emily Carswell (Heat), Gilbert (JKM) and Ella Moratti (JKM) kept the ball moving well in a very end to end game.

It was a low scoring game as both teams fought hard but JKM came out victors in a 29-8 win.

Best for The Heat was Niamh Urquhart who had an outstanding game moving from centre court into the circle.

Zoe Carter was everywhere on court and her versatility was on display all game.

As always Amie Hill was clinical in her defence and her combination with Bianka Jacobson will be one to watch in the upcoming grand final against Desert Peas.

In the B Grade match a depleted Brush Stop took on a strong Sparks outfit.

Brush Stop pulled off an upset win in the previous week’s elimination final over the higher placed Mystics side, running out 38-21 winners.

However this week Brush Stop was missing three of their senior players, most notably Sophie Bereyne in defence.

A nervous start from both teams saw a lot of stray balls and the scoreboard reading 4-all early, before Sparks kicked into gear as shooters Stephanie Baker and Seigrid Peters started to find the net.

Sparks lead 28-7 at half time before an injury to Brush Stop’s Amy Coombes left them with just six players on the court to finish the game.

Junior players Madasan Taylor and Allira Hurst were outstanding for Brush Stop to keep the game competitive, directing play through the centre court and playing with maturity beyond their years.

Sparks’ Ashley Place fed the circle with great accuracy but it was the defensive combination of Regena Nasser and Sharon Green who shut down the Brush Stop attack and locked in their team’s place in the grand final as Sparks ran away with the win 47-15.

Sparks will now progress to the grand final and come up against a confident Hot Shots team.

They last met in last week’s semi finals where the Hot Shots pulled off an upset win over the top ranked Sparks side 49-44.

Coming off a win to go directly into the grand final will give Hot Shots the mental edge going into the game.

Players to watch include representative defensive player Alice Flynn and dominant goal shooter Sam Vaka.

In the A Grade grand final Desert Peas will rely heavily on shooter Nikki Gilbert and all rounder Brianna Watson to secure the win.

They booked their ticket straight to the grand final last week with a 36-24 win over minor premiers JKM.

The Desert Peas are littered with talent and the contest between defensive star Naomi Whitehurst and JKM attacking machine Zoe Harland should be a cracker.

Desert Peas will be tough competition for JKM with experienced players Karlee Anderson, Reina Cross, Paige Wilson and Sarah Irvine having all played in two previous CAN grand finals.

The skillful JKM side have flair at both ends of the court, and will look to their representative players to dominate and take their direction from Tanya Gilbert and Amie Hill.