Tasman eager to continue climb

After scoring their first win of this year's competition last weekend, the Tasman senior netball team face the biggest test of their Lion Foundation Championships campaign so far when they face Western in Palmerston North tomorrow.

Following close losses to Counties Manukau and Southland in rounds one and two, Tasman got on the board in Nelson last Sunday when they bagged a nine-goal victory over Eastern.

That win put them fourth out of six teams on the division two NPC ladder, but they know if they are to collect a second win and continue their climb up the standings they will have to be absolutely on their game for the round four clash. Not only do Western have home court advantage, their unbeaten record also has them leading division two, with wins over Southland, Eastern and North.

Tasman team manager Marilyn Milne said 10 of their 11-player squad would be making the trip north, with young Nelson utility player Rosa Edwards still away with the New Zealand under-17 touch team. Co-captain and midcourter Jodi Hikuroa, of Nelson, has a quad niggle, but is being managed and is expected to take the court.

While Western were favourites to bag their fourth win and Tasman were expecting a very tough game, Milne was confident the Nelson-Marlborough outfit had the ability to match it with the early title frontrunners in division two. Despite coming out on top against Eastern last week, Tasman put in a largely patchy effort and Milne said the players knew they would have to be more consistent if they were to cause an upset.

"The team is gelling very well and the players are all very keen. But we know we are going to have to lift our game and play for the full four quarters this week."

Tasman are travelling to Palmerston North today and have a training session this afternoon.

All NPC teams get a 10-day break after tomorrow's matches, with the final round-robin matches and playoffs to be held in Tauranga from October 3-5.

The Marlborough Express