Schools head for final showdown

Manawatu schools Palmerston North Girls' High School and Tu Toa could be heading for a college netball showdown if Girls' High can beat Wellington East Girls' College next week.

Girls' High beat Sacred Heart Girls' College from New Plymouth during the weekend 32-21 to qualify for the next round of the knockout college netball competition against Wellington East Girls' next Monday. The game will be the curtain-raiser to the ANZ Championship game between the Central Pulse and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Porirua.

After losing to Massey A2 47-42 in premier club netball last night, Girls' High coach Maire Gordon said they had to toughen up before the college game against Wellington East Girls'.

It will be tough for the team to adjust from playing 15-minute quarters in premier netball, to shorter spells in the national college competition.

"We're approaching it as we've got through the first round," she said. "Every game, it's a cut-throat draw. It's quite different. Eight-minute quarters are a very different game to coach and play."

Girls' High beat Wellington East Girls' last year so Gordon was confident they could do it again.

However, she will will be sweating on the availability of goal defence Oriana van Nistelrooy and goal attack Keturaah Manihera, who were both injured against Massey A2.

The winner of the Girls' High and Wellington East Girls', will play Tu Toa in the next round and will be the curtain-riser to the Central Pulse and Adelaide Thunderbirds game in Wellington on May 21.

Tu Toa coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said the new competition was a good opportunity to play different schools from around the country and also thought it would be tough to adjust to the shorter quarters.

Seven teams are left from the original 18: Mt Albert Grammar School, Hamilton Girls' High School (upper North Island), Tu Toa, Wellington East Girls' College, Palmerston North Girls' High School (lower North Island), Craighead Diocesan and St Margaret's College (South Island). Semifinals will precede a grand final on July 1.

Manawatu Standard