Five to vie for semi spots

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:04 08/08/2012

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Netball

Grade-jumping youngsters win final Waimea's title defence ends in semi Zoe Walker shines in Kiwi victory Jacks make the final comfortably Sizzling games on a cold night Key matchups to fire up second round Battered and bruised Waimea to play for 11th Tough final battle goes Eastern way Tasman hit the court running Mighty battle tipped as Jacks confront Waimea

Come centre pass in the penultimate games of Nelson netball's premier grade at Saxton Stadium tomorrow night, five teams will still have a realistic chance of making the semifinals but, for some, the road to post-season action will be a tough one.

With three wins essentially guaranteeing a spot in the top four, Jacks are the only team who will definitely feature. Wanderers remain winless in the championship round and despite playing some of their best netball over the past three weeks, they are out of contention.

Prices Pharmacy A are still in the hunt but their game on centre court at 6pm is against the undefeated Jacks OPD Richmond, a tall ask for even the sharpest of shooters.

Prices have played below their best in the final round, but they showed, in one exceptional quarter last week against Wanderers, they have the arsenal to take down any opponent.

Prices will have to be at the peak of their powers if they are to take some much-needed points off Jacks.

To put perspective on just how good Jacks have been this season, coach Robyn Leonard was far from impressed with the performance of her team in their last outing, regardless of the fact they beat Waimea College A by 15 points. Waimea were the second ranked side going into that match.

Over on court two Waimea College Senior A and Stoke NBS resume one of the most engaging rivalries of the premier season.

It is one apiece with Stoke taking the honours in a thrilling opening game in round one, before Waimea levelled the ledger in the second.

Waimea do have the psychological edge of a second victory over Stoke in the final of the tier two Tasman Trophy, but with a semifinal spot on the line and placings extremely important - this is the one that counts.

Waimea have been on top of their game in the final round but lacked the drive to win against Jacks last week. They will need every ounce of intensity they can muster if they are to get past Stoke.

Coming up against Richmond in their best match of the season saw Stoke lose last week but apart from that hiccup Stoke have been in remarkable form. This should be another classic.

In the late match Richmond Robbies Bar & Bistro meet Wanderers Taylors A at 7.30pm, and if Wanderers encounter the same side that turned out for Richmond last week, it could be a long night.

The defending champions were as slick as a wet London street and would be a stumbling block for any team, including Jacks, if they can replicate their form.

Wanderers will want to continue to deliver performances they can be proud of.

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Since being promoted from Senior One grade Wanderers have fought for everything and tenacity has been a hallmark of their play.

- The Nelson Mail

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