Under-19s top last year's effort
They may have missed out on being "the best of the rest" by one spot, but the Tasman under-19 netball team have still improved on last year by two places to finish 10th at the National Age Group Championships which wrapped up in Auckland yesterday.
Tasman faced South Canterbury first up in the morning and won their way through to the ninth-place playoff with a resounding 36-31 victory.
However, they were unable to repeat the dose in the afternoon and ended their campaign with a 20-47 loss to a strong Otago outfit.
"Outstanding" was how Tasman coach Robyn Leonard described her team's performance against South Canterbury, a side they beat once and lost to once at the Queen's Birthday Weekend tournament in Christchurch.
They shot out of the blocks and by early in the second quarter had already opened up an eight-goal lead.
However, a run of seven straight goals had South Canterbury right back in the match and at halftime, the scores were locked at 20-all.
The fightback did not last long, though, and Tasman rediscovered their rhythm to gradually pull away in the second half for a well-deserved win.
Leonard singled out wing attack Michaela Matenga for her top performance.
Centre Ruth Swaney and shooters Courtney Clarke and Shevaun Collier had big second halves, with Clarke shooting at 93 per cent.
Otago beat Tasman twice during Queen's Birthday Weekend and that trend continued as a tired Marlborough-Nelson combined outfit were thoroughly outplayed by a team that Leonard said was simply better.
She agreed that Tasman had probably played their final in the morning match, but added that their last game was the only time they had been comfortably beaten all tournament.
Marlborough goal keep Portia Barcello shone in defence, while Clarke was again accurate with the opportunities she got, shooting at 86 per cent.
Despite missing out on ninth place, Leonard said her players had "gelled brilliantly and improved immensely" since they first got together.
And although the players had all had their moments during the tournament, Leonard was glowing in her praise of Barcello, who played every minute of every game.
She described the Marlborough teenager as a "raw talent" and said she had performed superbly.
Marlborough District Brass Band
- The Marlborough Express