Molyneux triumphant in exciting, hard-fought final

The victorious Molyneux team with the Vincent Shield after winning Saturday’s final. Photo:...
The victorious Molyneux team with the Vincent Shield after winning Saturday’s final. Photo: Angela McDonald
The Central Otago A Grade netball final between Molyneux and Dunstan A did not disappoint the crowd of spectators that had gathered halfway through the match. After a two-year absence at the top, Molyneux reclaimed the Vincent Shield in a thrilling 48-45 victory over the youngsters.

With the last game in the back of everyone’s mind, the Molyneux players once again proved to be strong starters, heading out to a quick 4-0 lead. Their timing through midcourt and quick balls into the goal circle caught Dunstan off guard. Not to be deterred, the youngsters finally found their rhythm, breaking Molyneux’s next pass, but  continued to make  errors as a result of Molyneux’s full court defence. Molyneux finished the quarter with a five-goal run, going into the break 17-8.

The introduction of Shannon Boyd in the Dunstan defensive circle at the break was crucial, as Dunstan increased its  defensive pressure and was  able to create more turnover ball and convert it  at the other end. Dunstan goal shoot Grace Ellis held her own against the Molyneux defence in her strongest game of the season. With a five-goal run of its  own, Dunstan  pegged back Molyneux’s lead, 27-24.

Molyneux rung more changes, once again bringing Charlotte Cramond into the shooting end. A more mobile shooting circle, which  the Molyneux feeders adjusted to well, often left the Dunstan girls behind due to the speed of the pass. Molyneux had safe hands bringing the ball through court and often used the reset back to the transverse in order to not force ball into the circle.

A tense fourth quarter was on the cards and Molyneux introduced some fresh  players who took a while to settle into the game. Dunstan continued its  chase for the entire quarter, breaking five Molyneux passes and coming back strongly. But Molyneux was  able to keep calm under the pressure and keep the ball steady and controlled.

Its  ability to play as a team, be patient and exhibit consistent defensive pressure is what won Molyneux the game in the end.

Cromwell College A had a close match with Vincent, taking  third place in the grade with a 39-33 win. Roxburgh Area School A won its match against Diamonds 29-21.

- Angela McDonald

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