Semifinal scrap down to wire

22:59, Aug 19 2014
Kelsi Fitzpatrick
SURROUNDED AND GROUNDED: Marlborough Girls’ College centre Kelsi Fitzpatrick is swarmed by Central defenders during her team’s 24-85 premier grade netball loss.

Five teams will fight out for four semifinal spots in Marlborough premier grade netball after all four of last night's matches went to form.

Despite some lopsided scorelines, there were some hard-fought contests at Marlborough Lines Stadium.

Goal differential could decide semifinalists and so teams played hard right to the end of what were otherwise blowout results.

Tokomaru Crafar Crouch battled Harlequins Radich Law all the way to the finish and won the fourth quarter by one but lost the match 50-33.

Pelorus Speight's Ale House also finished with a strong fourth quarter against Smog Bayleys, but they were well beaten 68-39.

The first and last matches of the night provided the widest margins, Central ANZ Men defeated MGC Scaffold Marlborough 85-24, and Harlequins Fairweathers were too much for Wairau Jetz, 76-23.


Harlequins Radich Law 50 Tokomaru 33

Quins had control of the match right from the get-go, but the contest continued right to the end as both teams made it difficult to enter the ball into the circle.

The first half featured some great pressure through the midcourt as veteran centres Bridget Gane, for Quins, and Tash Ford, for Tokomaru, hassled each other back and forward. Mhiccah King, who started in the Quins wing defence bib, and Laura Murphy, at wing attack for Tokomaru, added to the midcourt stoush with their speed and energy.

Murphy turned in a fine game and the absence of King, replaced, in the second half, gave her more space to free herself and better opportunities to find shooters.

The standout of the match was Lauren Murray though, who despite only shooting 59 per cent, commanded the ball in the circle and rebounded her misses aggressively. The telling stat of the match, and testament to Murray's workrate, was her 52 attempts on goal; Tokomaru had just one more as a team.

Credit must also go to the constant energy and efforts of the Quins defence.

Kelly West at goal defence and her goalkeep team-mates Megan Fyfe and Mel Shore made life difficult for the opposition shooters.

Smog 68 Pelorus 39

It was again a shooter that proved the big difference as Rayna Olsen and Smog easily accounted for Pelorus.

Before leaving the court in the fourth quarter, with what appeared to be a badly sprained ankle, Olsen netted 39 of 44 goals, including 15 in the first period, which set the tone for the match.

The goalshoot got solid midrange position and the Smog centre and wing attack combo of Jenny Marren and Cara Wiapo found her regularly.

At the other end Micah Lindsay-Brown covered a lot of ground in the circle, and by working well with Kate Hopoi the duo made it hard for Pelorus to feed their shooters.

The second half addition of Anna Hewson into the shooting circle allowed Pelorus better spacing and they finished the match on a 6-2 run.

On court to witness the Pelorus resurgence was Smog coach Janine Jordaan who, as the only option remaining on the bench when Olsen hobbled off with 10 minutes to play, was forced into taking the bib.

Central 85 Marlborough Girls' College 24

The opposition was faster and more athletic than Central has seen so far in round four, but it couldn't slow their juggernaut.

An impressive display of speed and accuracy vaulted Central to a 26-goal first quarter from which they never looked back. Their domination was evident all over the court. Wiri Bristowe bounced around the defensive circle, wreaking havoc, Nick Rayner shut down the opposition at wing defence, Ricky Fry attacked with speed and accuracy at centre and when goalshoot Jared Lock started landing goals from the edge of the circle, stopping the men became an impossible task.

MGC's Portia Barcello attempted to match speed and aggression with her opponents and made some nice plays on either side of the ball, while Jordan Peipi showed good composure in the shooting circle despite being put under immense pressure.

Harlequins Fairweathers 76 Wairau Jetz 23

Clinical play in both circles from Quins made for a lopsided final match of the night when they dispatched the Ladies in Pink.

Quins shooters Rebecca Eddie and Anne Reed shot 83 per cent as they combined expertly with a variety of midcourters.

Sandy Large was menacing at first goal defence and then centre as she shut down the Wairau attack with clean steals and battered balls.

For the Jetz, Audrey Sloan had some nice shooting touches in what was otherwise a lost cause.

The Marlborough Express