Central start campaign with two losses

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 08/07/2013
Renee Matoe and Kirsten Hurley
Fairfax NZ

UNDER PRESSURE: Central wing attack Renee Matoe receives a pass, pursued by Mainland's Kirsten Hurley, in their game at Timaru yesterday.

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The Central under-23 team needs more time together after two losses to start the national championship at Timaru at the weekend.

In their first outing with the whole team together, Central lost to South 73-48 on Saturday, then were pipped 59-58 by Mainland yesterday.

Central coach Charissa Barham was happy with the effort despite the results because they finally had the whole team together, including Amber Bellringer from the Central Pulse.

Barham said they were in both games, especially against Mainland, but a couple of niggly things went wrong which they can fix before the rest of the championship in Wellington next week.

"Polishing and fine tuning," Barham said. "Working on consistency, intensity, that's going to come at this stage. A mental side."

Barham said they were smart netballers so they could overcome being underdogs.

Even though they lost both games, including the big loss to South, she felt there were a lot of positives to come out of the matches.

Against South, they were in the game, down by six at halftime, but then South blew them away in the third quarter which they won 21-8.

In the second game against Mainland, it was a tight clash, with the lead changing hands multiple times before Mainland won the final quarter 13-10 to overhaul Central's two-point lead.

Captain Stacey McFeeters was the best for Central, leading from the front in the midcourt, grabbing ball when they needed it.

The Tu Toa trio of Whitney Cassidy at wing and goal defence, Sheridan Bignall in the midcourt and Renee Matoe in one game at wing attack, all went well.

Both Central shooters had their radars working as Bellringer and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble shot at more than 90 per cent.

McFeeters echoed Barham's comments that they needed more time together.

She said they didn't have their shooters available until this weekend which didn't help.

"As a whole in both games we made some basic errors which stopped us getting a roll on, from getting that lead," she said.

"They're things we can quickly fix quite easily before next week."

She said the players were still getting a feel for each other and they improved even from Saturday to Sunday.

South and Mainland had a couple of players from their respective trans-Tasman teams.

In the other game, South beat Mainland 61-45.

At the championship in Wellington, Central will play both Northern teams and both Waikato-Bay of Plenty teams.

South 73 Central 48 (Amber Bellringer 31/33, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble 17/17).

Mainland 59 Central 58 (Amber Bellringer 26/28, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble 26/28).

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- Manawatu Standard

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