Invercargill St Mary's, Rata to contest league final

Nicole Sharp
Nicole Sharp
The best two teams in the Southland-wide league showed their dominance in semifinals on Thursday night in Gore.

Top qualifier Rata beat Mossburn 43-22, and Invercargill St Mary's demolished Gore Ex-High 59-38.

The local crowd was hoping the defending champion could upset the in-form Invercargill St Mary's and at quarter time confidence grew with the score at 11-all. But St Mary's built a healthy if not unassailable lead at halftime.

Ex-High made personnel changes but the lead grew through the third quarter to 20 goals.

The shooting accuracy and defensive pressure shown by St Mary's earned the 21-goal win and a place in the final against Rata.

Rata coach Debbie Munro said it was not a great game with lots of turnovers but her players were just glad to be in the final.

Mossburn's Nicole Sharp and Hayley Adam applied good circle-edge pressure which assisted the strong defensive duo of Abby Erwood and Bridget Dickson.

Youngster Millie Walker impressed at goal attack and deserved to be player of the match.

Fifth qualifier Winton beat Southland Girls High School 47-36.

Winton made a solid start and led 16-10 at quarter time.

In a physical and scruffy second half, Winton gradually increased its lead. Its shooters had a great night: Heidi Middleton nailed 100% and Britt Davis landed 87%.

The school's defence was often able to shut Winton down and force errors.

Girls' High centre Kate Hartley played well.

Central Southland College beat Gore St Mary's and will play Winton next Thursday to decide fifth and sixth. Gore St Mary's and Southland Girls' High will fight over the wooden spoon.

 - John Langford

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