Defending champions handed first loss

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 23/07/2014

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Manukura Red showed Rahui aren't invincible, knocking over the defending champions as club netball re-started at the B&M Centre last night.

Manukura's 52-46 win handed Rahui their first loss of the season and keeps Manukura in the top four, one point ahead of Feilding A1.

Manukura captain Emma-May Murray-Fifita, battling cramps late in the game, said they made a slow start but worked their way into it against the champions.

"It's always hard to think you're playing Rahui," she said. "It's great fun and picks up our skill level when we're playing hard competition. It's good for growth."

She said it will give them confidence for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

Having not been troubled much this year, it looked like business as usual for Rahui as they quickly ran out to a 7-0 lead.

But the two-week break in the competition didn't help them as they were making un-characteristic errors, throwing the ball away on attack.

Manukura goal defence Layce Walker was on fire intercepting ball and shutting down Rahui's attack and wing defence Lilee Stephenson stood out.

It was 25-all at halftime, but Manukura were too fast in the second half for Rahui to keep up.

Rahui captain Katarina Cooper's ball skills were too good for the schoolgirls and Alana Fraser was good in the midcourt.

Rahui weren't helped without gun shooter Miriama Selby-Rickit, who is now overseas, so they didn't have a regular shooter to go alongside converted defender Maraea Murray, who had a perfect record of 23 from 23.

Instead Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit (20 from 26) and Cooper (three from six) were tried and once Manukura figured out to stop them using high balls to feed the circle, Rahui struggled to score.

For Manukura, Murray-Fifita shot 31 from 38 and Diahn Strickland 21 from 27.

With only one reserve, Manukura coach Yvette McCausland-Durie had to keep shuffling her team around, with Walker going off briefly with an ankle injury, then Kiwa Shelford-Salt traded places with her after taking a knock.

Then Ashleigh Tahiwi hurt her shoulder after a collison saw her land heavily and had to go off.

Massey A1 had to work hard to overcome Switch 56-48.

It took until three-quarter time with the scores locked at 40-all before Massey started playing like the third-placed side, and ran away with it at the end. After a tight first quarter, Massey pulled out to a seven-point lead at halftime, up 32-25.

But Switch had other ideas and fought back in the third, which they won 15-8, to level the scores and had the Massey girls a bit hot under the collar before they snapped out of it.

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Switch defended well in the circle, but Massey wing attack Sam Rowe was good at finding people in space and goal attack Keaghan Seymour wasn't fazed, sinking 36 from 40, while Kamie Veikoso shot 12 from 16 off the bench.

Switch shooters Brooke Clarke (26 from 29) and Chelsea Poland (11 from 13) had a good combination in the second half and goal defence Charlotte Hill played well.

Cat Scoon shot 11 from 18 in a half at goal shoot.

Palmerston North Girls' High School again gave one of the top sides but still couldn't break their winless run, losing 42-41 to Feilding A1.

Feilding trailed 21-20 at halftime, but won the third quarter 12-9 to give them a narrow lead.

The win keeps Feilding up with the top four, just one point behind Massey and Manukura Red.

Beth McAsey was Feilding's main scorer, shooting 30 from 37, while for Girls' High, Hannah Rowe had 29 from 36 and Tessa Marsh 12 from 19.

Manukura Black moved into top spot on the table with a 70-47 thrashing of Feilding A2.

Feilding kept up in the fourth quarter, but apart from that, Manukura were too slick, dominating the two middle quarters and up 37-20 at halftime.

With a couple of regulars away for Manakura, young Seasons Turahui-Te Uawiri stepped up to score 35 from 42 goals and captain Renee Matoe shot 28 from 34.

Georgia Coombes was Feilding's main source of goals, scoring 39 from 49. The win puts Manukura ahead of Rahui on goal difference.

PREMIER NETBALL

Last night's results Manukura Red 52 Rahui 46 Feilding A1 42 PNGHS 41 Manukura Black 70 Feilding A2 47 Massey A1 56 Switch 48 Standings P W D L F A BP Pts Manukura B 10 9 0 1 652 448 0 27 Rahui 10 9 0 1 599 429 0 27 Massey A1 10 6 1 3 531 462 1 21 Manukura R 10 6 1 3 480 490 1 21 Feilding A1 10 6 0 4 434 401 2 20 Feilding A2 10 2 0 8 385 555 0 6 Switch 10 1 0 9 425 593 2 5 PNGHS 10 0 0 10 392 520 3 3


- Manawatu Standard

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