Premier teams found after grading games

BY DAVID DAWKINS
Last updated 12:47 29/04/2009
CHRISTINE CORNEGE / The Marlborough Express
WAY TO GO: SMOG Furniture to Go goal attack Claudia Crawford shoots for goal. The SMOG side secured a round one premier grade position with a 24-18 win.

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United PSIS and Pelorus Edridge Contracting were left ruing missed opportunities last night at Marlborough Lines Stadium as premier grade positions slipped from their grasp.

With two teams dropped from the top flight after last night's second week of grading games Pelorus received the chop early after losing to SMOG Furniture to Go (SMOG FtG) 18-24 in a match where they were in contention throughout.

The loss was Pelorus' third in three games in the lower-seeded Pool B and left them bottom of the table.

United squandered an early five goal lead against unbeaten Harlequins East Coast Inn (Quins ECI) in their final Pool B match, eventually losing 16-19.

As the third-placed team in Pool B, United exercised their right to challenge winless Pool A side Pelorus Richard Bateman Motors (Pelorus RBM) to an elimination match, won by Pelorus 32-12 to secure the all-male team a premier position.

Earlier the Pelorus men lost a one-goal thriller to unbeaten Harlequins Radich Law (Quins RL) 26-25.

Against Quins ECI, United twice led by five goals in the first half as Quins struggled to overcome strong midcourt defence. However, the United lead had been whittled away by the break. In the second spell United paid for attempting too many long passes.

Best for United was centre Carrie Noad and goal attack Anna Lufe.

United coach Janine Hoani said while her side was disappointed to miss the premier grade cut they had learnt a lot.

"We just threw away too many balls. We seemed to get up then not know what to do. If we stayed with how we were playing at the start we would have been right. I thought we did a lot of good things and we have a lot of potential. As long as we keep it together I think we can top grade one," Hoani said.

Against the Pelorus men, United had little chance after falling behind 17-4 at the break. Despite an improved attacking effort from United in the second half Pelorus ran out 20-goal winners.

Eddie Burke and Luke Richardson were sharp in attack in the goal circle while centre Grant Herd and wing attack Shiloh Walsh were strong through court. Josh Tapp showed potential at goal keep.

Goal keep Kim Sutherland and goal shoot Cheryl Neal were United's best.

Pelorus paid for a poor early start against Quins RL where an inability to execute centre passes quickly saw them fall into a five-goal hole. Pelorus shooters Richardson and Herd were on target throughout the half and as the midcourt started to provide a steady supply of ball the Quins lead was down to 14-12 by the break.

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The sides remained close throughout an entertaining second half and found themselves level at 25-25 in the final minute. While both had chances to win the game it was goal attack Kate McAlpine who sealed the win for Quins with a goal in the dying seconds.

McAlpine performed well at goal attack for Quins as did Amy O'Meara in the first half while wing attack Laura Murphy and centre Natasha Ford also shone.

The Pelorus shooters were on target throughout the match while Walsh excelled at wing attack and goal keep Corey Tyson's height bothered the Quins shooters.

While it turned out a win last night may not have kept alive the premier grade hopes of the Pelorus women, the Dark Blues missed an opportunity to score a win over SMOG FtG.

Both sides were guilty of too many errors in a scrappy start to the game with SMOG eventually ending the half 11-9 up. The match remained close in the second spell with SMOG finally pulling clear in the final two minutes to win by six.

SMOG coach Megan MacKenzie was particularly pleased with her young shooters, Claudia Crawford and Claudia van Velthooven, and goal defence Sophie MacKenize. Goal keep Johanna McNabb was the top performer for Pelorus.

Harlequins Scaffold Marlborough (Quins SM) took advantage of a scrappy showing from defending champions SMOG Peter Ray Homes (SMOG PRH) to post a 24-19 win.

As coach Monica McKone experimented with different midcourt combinations SMOG was made to pay for an excess of errors by the experienced Quins team.

Sandy Large and Tracey Moanaroa secured numerous loose balls in defence for Quins while Serena Hounslow was outstanding at wing attack.

Kimberley Gibson and Kirby Heath shot well for SMOG.

Premier netball begins next Tuesday with SMOG PRH, Harlequins SM, Harlequins RL, Pelorus Men, Harlequins ECI and SMOG FtG competing for round one honours.

NETBALL WRAP

Results:

Pool B Harlequins ECI 19 United 16. HT: 11-11. SMOG FtG 24 Pelorus EC 18. HT: 11-9.

Pool A Harlequins RL 26 Pelorus RBM 25. HT: 14-12. Harlequins SM 24 SMOG PRH 19. HT: 11-9.

Cross pool Pelorus Men 32 United PSIS 12. HT: 17-4. 2009 round one premier grade teams: Harlequins RL, Harlequins SM, SMOG PRH, Pelorus RBM, SMOG FtG, Harlequins ECI.

- The Marlborough Express

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