The final score 64-56 suggests something of a contest, but in reality Wellington were never in the same class as Canterbury in yesterday's NPC netball clash at Kilbirnie.
Wellington were behind from almost the opening whistle and trailed by 10 to 12 goals for most of the match at the ASB Sports Centre. Canterbury actually led by 16 goals at one point in the final quarter, to easily condemn Wellington to their second loss in as many starts.
"We just lacked consistency, really," Wellington captain Daya Wiffen said.
The home side deserve credit for hanging in there and making some sort of fightback. But as they did against Auckland Waitakere the week before, Wellington simply left themselves with too much ground to make up.
"We just lost a lot of ball at the beginning and went down by a bit and had to play catch-up the whole time and you just can't afford to do that," Wiffen said.
"This week was our first training with the whole team . . . so we're only just really getting our combinations together. So there's definitely room to build, but we've got to sort it out quick."
What will help Wellington in the coming weeks is the calibre of their remaining division one opponents. Auckland has a useful side, while Canterbury's starting seven yesterday were all members of the Tactix's trans-Tasman league team.
Wellington just don't have that quality of personnel and thankfully neither do Bay of Plenty, Waikato or Otago.
With Anna Thompson running at centre, Keshia Grant at wing attack and Ellen Halpenny the goal shoot, Canterbury had few problems bringing the ball through court and converting possession into goals. Bessie Manu and Jane Watson were useful in defence and the goals Wellington did score were invariably hard-earned.
Thompson had told The Dominion Post on Friday that "it will be a Canterbury weekend" and she was right. Wellington met the red-and-blacks in both the rugby and netball NPCs and were soundly beaten in each.
Wiffen and defender Victoria Smith were again the best of Wellington's players, while wing attack Nicola Mackle and goal shoot Te Amo Amaru-Tibble produced encouraging performances as well.
- © Fairfax NZ News