Craighead set bar high for rivals
Only one question remained as the premier netball semifinalists were revealed - can anyone beat Craighead?
The red-hot schoolgirl team, who are unbeaten this season, look to be a shoo-in for their title defence in the final.
They will face last year's wooden spooners, Old Boys, who improved greatly to finish fourth, in the first semifinal, but that game is unlikely to stretch Craighead.
Second-placed Mackenzie Old Girls will face third-placed Harlequins in a game that should be a cracker. Both, however, would need to make a big step up to threaten Craighead.
On Saturday, Harlequins' 35-24 win over Pleasant Point allowed Old Boys to squeeze into fourth spot, as Craighead gave second qualifiers Mackenzie Old Girls a lesson, winning 44-16.
It was all over by the first quarter when Craighead scorched out to a 14-2 lead, with goal shoot Alice Eddington superb, landing all 14 goals, without a miss.
They were just too quick and slick, pouncing on any errors and loose balls.
Mackenzie's defence improved in the second quarter and they held Craighead to 6-5, but the score ballooned out again in the third quarter, with the pace of game exposing Mackenzie.
Up 35-9, Craighead took the foot off the gas and were only two goals superior in the final quarter.
Standouts for Craighead were Eddington, who shot with 85 per cent accuracy, despite missing three in the final quarter.
Wing attack Georgia Greig fed her shooters well and took a couple of good intercepts.
Craighead defence was also excellent, with Georgia McRae impressing. Mackenzie centre Eve Anderson worked hard but the tide was against her.
Pleasant Point started the better team against Harlequins and raced out to a 9-4 first-quarter lead.
Unfortunately, they could not keep the momentum going and the second quarter was a reversal of roles as Harlequins woke up and had a 15-13 lead at halftime.
From then, Harlequins kept the momentum going to win comfortably. Harlequins goal keep Natalie Rooney used her height well and grabbed some crucial rebounds as the pressure got to Pleasant Point's shooters.
Penny Fairbrother impressed in all three midcourt roles, while Erin Williams worked hard at wing attack.
Harlequins shooters Courtney Robson and Aleisha Taylor made better use of the ball they received.
Pleasant Point centre Gemma Bower worked hard and goal keep Christy Richmond also had a busy game.
Old Boys managed to overturn an 11-5 first quarter deficit to beat Roncalli 35-29 in a good team effort. The best player for Old Boys was goal attack Koto Bakani.
Craighead B ensured it was a good day for the school when they beat Timaru Girls' High School A 36-30.
In the bottom-four playoffs, Pleasant Point are up against TGHS, and Roncalli face Craighead B.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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