Southland shoot for third
Southland netballers returned to their winning ways in division two of the national provincial championship in Tauranga yesterday.
After two consecutive losses, Southland were determined to claim their final round-robin game against winless Eastern. They succeeded, with a 54-47 win.
However, it was far from a complete performance, with Southland committing 30 turnovers. Southland can finish as high as third in second division over the next two days at the finals tournament.
It was a nervous opening quarter from Southland yesterday, with Eastern matching their higher-ranked opponents early in the game.
However, Southland began to get into their work.
They were able to build a 10-goal halftime advantage, courtesy of some strong through-court defence that helped create turnovers. Southland coach Reinga Te Huia switched her side around in the second half, with Rachael Fahy and Tegan Hunt preferred in the defensive circle and youngsters Eden Millan and Lucy Robins also gaining court time.
Eastern fought back in the final quarter as Southland struggled to maintain their consistency for the full 60 minutes of play.
Te Huia said her players were pleased to pick up the win but acknowledged they needed to do plenty of work ahead of their next game against Tasman today.
"The first five to 10 minutes was really ugly but the girls will be happy we've had a win."
Southland's shooters were again accurate, converting 54 of their 59 attempts (92 per cent).
Canterbury product Sarah Hayman, who has been a standout for the Southland team this season, had another stellar showing.
Hayman yesterday landed 46 of her 48 attempts (96 per cent).
Experienced midcourters Hayley Crofts and Hayley Saunders also got through a power of work for Southland.
Te Huia was also impressed with Fahy and Robins, who won some good ball in the defensive end during the second half. Southland are out of contention for a promotion-relegation game spot.
However, Te Huia said her young players would be happy with a third-place effort in division two.
"That's our aim as a team and we're really hoping to achieve that," Te Huia said.
"They're quite focused and they know what they've got to do."
Southland 54, Eastern 47 Quarter scores (Southland first): 11-9, 27-17, 37-29, 54-47.
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