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Valley Gold won its fifth premier netball title in a row, joining the Valley Rugby side as the top winter sports club in North Otago.
Valley dropped only one game during the season, when it lost to St Kevin’s A, 40-34.
In the final on Saturday Valley started well, scoring three unanswered goals before Maheno scored its first goal four minutes into the game.
This set the tempo of the game, with Maheno never really getting back into the contest as it struggled to reduce the number of its turnovers as umpire’s calls went against it.Valley’s Nicky Wallace (GD) and Shay Frost (GK) worked tirelessly in shutting down the Maheno shoots.
Rihi Schultz (GA) kept Valley steady in the circle, supporting her young shoot, Brittany Firman (GS), as did sharp feeding by Petra Aspros and Leanne Mavor (C). Mel Smith (GK) and Kat Kawau (C) were outstanding for Maheno, coming up with so much ball, but there was insufficient finishing from their shoots.
Going into the third quarter Valley Gold planted its foot and won the second half of the game 19-7. Valley led after all four quarters — 7-5, 16-11, 26-14, and 35-18.
The playoff for third and fourth went to St Kevin’s A, which defeated Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire 39-32 in a tight game. St Kevin’s had taken wins on the three previous occasions and took the court wanting to indicate that they were final material after a dismal display in the semifinals.
Wildfire dominated the first quarter, leading 11-8, but in the second quarter Molly Kay (GA) stepped up the momentum and led the attack end with quick passing to her feeders Gemma Dowling (C) and Ellen Swanson (WA), and this pair were a tight unit, feeding Jaimee Trainor with ease.
Molly Hurst was once again the leader on the court for Wildfire, but by the third quarter she was finding it hard to get through the St Kevin’s defence and St Kevin’s produced a six-goal unanswered run in the second half. Discipline by the College side saw it through to the final whistle. Quarter scores were 11-8 (Wildfire), 18-18, 28-24 (St Kevin’s) and 39-32 (St Kevin’s).In the premier playoff for third and fourth, St Kevin’s A finally pulled away after struggling at the start of the game for a 35-23 win over Athletic Gold. St Kevin’s took time to settle in the first quarter, trailing Athletic 6-10 at the first break. It came into the second quarter in a more settled fashion and at halftime led 17-15.
The side then consolidated this lead in the third and fourth quarters, pulling away to lead 27-18 and 35-23.
Tegan Souness and Kaliopeta Katoa combined well in the shooting circle, while defence duo Yneke Edzes and Jasmine Emery kept the shooting circle tight.
The North Otago Development XV opened its season’s programme with a 52-17 win over Mid Canterbury in Oamaru on Saturday on a sloppy ground at Whitestone stadium.
North Otago produced an aggressive forward pack and an enterprising backline, running in eight tries, six of which were converted by first five-eighth, Dan Lewis. North Otago dominated the first half, scoring five tries in the first twenty minutes. Powerful centre Matthew Vocea scored twice and further tries were scored by fullback Jason Angland, Lewis, and hooker Jack Williams, with Lewis’ four conversions in the first half giving North Otago a 33-0 lead with six minutes remaining before halftime.
These last few minutes though were enough for Mid Canterbury to score two tries — one each to Peter Milo and halfback Tait Chisman, first five-eighth Dalton Kannemeyer converting one to make the score 33-12 to North Otago at the break. In the second 45, impressive young loosehead prop Logan Dunlop, winger Ross Lewis and Jesse Porter touched down for North Otago, with Dan Lewis adding a further two conversions. Mid Canterbury flanker Harry Ashworth scored a late unconverted try.
Tainui faded in the second half against Temuka in South Canterbury League hockey. After Nick and Josh Dalziel goals had made the score 2-all at halftime, Temuka pulled away for a 6-2 victory.
- Terry O'Neill