Canterbury in shock netball loss to Otago

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 24/09/2012

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The Canterbury netball team have been beaten for the first time in two and a half seasons.

Their shock 56-45 loss to Otago yesterday in Dunedin ends a 17-game winning streak dating back to 2009.

With nearest rivals Auckland-Waitakere losing on Saturday, Canterbury had a chance to seal the top round-robin spot with a game in hand, but were completely outplayed by their hosts.

Losing captain Anna Thompson to the Silver Ferns as injury cover for Maria Tutaia didn't help but coach Tania Hoffman said yesterday's loss was "a real team effort".

"Nobody played that well to be honest."

Hoffman said she was both disappointed and frustrated with the loss and the out-of- character performance.

Just a day earlier, her side had played a training match against the Silver Ferns in Christchurch and national coach Waimarama Taumaunu had praised the Cantabs for their impressive defence. That was clearly missing yesterday.

Otago put up 15 more attempts at goal than Canterbury and were better throughout the court.

Winning the final quarter could have earned Canterbury a vital bonus point but they missed that, too, and finished the round tied for first with Auckland-Waitakere on 12 points, but ahead on goal percentage.

Hoffman said the loss would be used as motivation for the side's remaining matches in the provincial competition.

"The players are all disappointed and don't feel great so we're going to use that, we know we don't want to feel this way again. Red and black is a big thing for this team and doing the region proud and that's still our goal."

Canterbury play their final round-robin match, against Auckland-Waitakere, on Wednesday 3 October in Tauranga before the playoffs begin the following day.

Previously unbeaten Auckland-Waitakere lost 61-48 to Waikato in Te Awamutu while Wellington accounted for Bay of Plenty 53-37.

RESULT

Otago 56 (12-17-12-15) Canterbury 45 (10-12-10-13)

Canterbury statistics: Ellen Halpenny 26/29 (89.66 per cent), Elizabeth Hayman 12/14 (85.71 per cent), Gemma Hazeldine 2/5 (40 per cent), Sophia Fenwick 5/8 (62.50 per cent).

Points after four rounds: Canterbury 12, Auckland-Waitakere 12, Waikato 11, Wellington 9, Otago7, Bay of Plenty 1.

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- The Press

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