College girls dealt lesson
It was always going to be a tough ask, a newly promoted team coming in to take on the undefeated premier-grade leaders. It proved an insurmountable task.
In a less than vintage performance by their own lofty standards, premier netball pacesetters Jacks OPD Richmond beat Nelson College for Girls Senior A 66-39 on court one at Saxton Stadium. However College can still hold their heads high, with a showing that exhibited periods of cohesion and flashes of brilliance from some young talent.
Fresh from senior one, the College side will still be adjusting to the lofty heights of premier grade competition and they were asked to attempt the tallest peak on that particular plane.
"It is a big step up, it's a lot faster, a lot more physical and it's longer with the 15-minute quarters," said Nelson coach Kathryn Orange.
"For our first match in this grade and against the top team, I was actually pretty happy with the result. We gave them a few goals but we didn't want to let the score blow out and the girls did very well."
The differential could have been worse as Jacks were well short of their best form and although they were still able to put out a top quality side, Jacks were missing three top-line players.
"Not taking anything away from them [Nelson], but we were very erratic we didn't have much timing and we threw away more ball than I can remember," said Jacks coach Robyn Leonard.
However, Leonard said the opposition can have a fair bit to do with that, especially when they bring something different.
"They are a different team, they play a different style than we are used to and what happens is that it gets in your heads and changes the style you play."
Nelson certainly brought in a few techniques unsighted in premier grade this season.
Converted goal attack Rosa Edwards had a strong game in goal defence, pulling in seven intercepts and her combination with the heads-up Courtney Robinson was Mystic-like.
With one of the pair anchoring and holding the shirt of the other they could put more pressure on the shot by holding the lean that much longer.
Across on court two, Waimea College were not able to repeat their heroics of last week, and delivered a first half that was comparatively lacklustre.
Prices Pharmacy came out composed and on point, stifling a Waimea comeback to take the game 61-51 in a reverse of last week's result.
Prices came with a no-nonsense attitude and blazed their way to a daunting 33-19 lead after the second quarter, before Waimea found their confidence to take the third and fourth – but not the match.
"We were a lot better, this week was about making sure we kept to our strategies and kept our composure," said Prices Pharmacy assistant coach Tom Alesana.
"This week we decided to take the emotion out of the game, defensively the midcourt promoted the high ball and promoted the zone well."
Following a stirring performance to stave off relegation at the last possible moment, Waimea looked like a different team in the first half.
After achieving a goal, complacency is an easy trap to fall into, but coach Faye Eden said it was just a case of starting poorly.
"It was not a case of us saying `Oh yay, we made premier – let's stop playing now', we just started off like we were asleep. It's not that they didn't want it, they just didn't start playing until the second half."
In the late game, two underperforming powerhouse teams delivered a game of the highest quality. In a fast, accurate contest Richmond Robbie's Bar and Bistro came from behind to earn a 67-59 victory over Stoke NBS.
Stoke came out like a team possessed using a driving style in attack and a space style defence. When Stoke managed to get that flow through court, they looked every bit worth their 22-14 first quarter lead.
"It was an awesome game, very exciting and a very good standard of netball, said Stoke coach Priyani de Silva-Currie.
"The first quarter we played exceptionally well. We didn't do as well in the second and that turned into a downward spiral for us."
Richmond came back in the second as Stoke led 37-35 at the half, but the third quarter was all Richmond as the defending champions found their game to lead 51-46.
"It took us a bit to get into the game, it was a matter of digging deep," said co-coach Amanda Springer.
In the shooting circle, Richmond's Nicki Rampton was back to her stat topping best, scoring a round high 48 goals at over 80 per cent. But it was at the other end where Richmond choked out a victory by cutting off the ball to Stoke's holding shooter Megan Thompson.
"We couldn't get enough ball to Megan," said de Silva-Currie.
"They came in and double tagged, allowing us to have a free roamer in the circle, and we didn't make the most of that."
- © Fairfax NZ News