Surprising upset win

CENTRAL TRIUMPH OVER CATS: Sam Pine's stellar on-ground performance in Saturday's clash against Solomontown saw her named best player for Central Risdon.
CENTRAL TRIUMPH OVER CATS: Sam Pine's stellar on-ground performance in Saturday's clash against Solomontown saw her named best player for Central Risdon.

Central Risdon are the talking point of Port Pirie netball this week after a surprising upset win over Solomontown in their clash on Saturday afternoon. Coming up against each other for the first time this season, it was sure to be a belter of a game and the girls didn’t disappoint.

The first quarter was hotly contested with Centrals taking an early lead by a single goal. Missing tall defender Emily Gray, athletic wing defence Gracen Dyer was forced to take over the goal keeper position, and what she lacked in height compared to her missing team mate, she made up with her huge vertical leap.

Together with goal defence Chloe Knibbs the two had little time to settle in their new combination as the in-form Central Risdon goalers Sam Pine and Penny Malchow kept them on their toes. As is usually the case with outdoor games, the quarter by quarter scores were much smaller than what you would see in the gym on a Friday night, however this always sets the game up for a fierce battle in the midcourt.

Georgia Scarman coming off a player of the week performance in round two lined up against Ashleigh Possingham in the centre, with the two girls eventually featuring in the best players. At the long break is was Central who nudged ahead to lead 20-23.

After making her first A Grade appearance for the year wing defence Shekhani Warren took to the bench as coach Justina Adams made a number of changes to try and kick start her team. Solomontown sprinted out of the blocks in the third and maintained their intensity to win the quarter 12-8 to take a one goal lead heading into the final term.

The stage was set for a thriller and it came down to the final minutes for Centrals to make their final charge. The last three minutes featured some fantastic rebounding from the Centrals defence, as Solomontown uncharacteristically missed a few late goals, giving Emma Tolson and Alyse Lynch the opportunity to grab the ball and drive it deep into their attack.

Central’s best Sam Pine at goal attack held her nerve to get her team over the line by two goals. 

Central’s best Sam Pine at goal attack held her nerve to get her team over the line by two goals.

Also in the best players for Centrals were Possingham in the centre and Lynch at goal defence who worked tirelessly with Tolson (goal keeper) to hold the experienced Solomontown shooters well. Without her usual partner in crime, Chloe Knibbs lead her defensive team extremely well to be Solomontown’s top performer, while Scarman and Dyer supported her nicely to also feature amongst their best.

On Friday night it was a different story with Saint Mark’s Celtic having a huge win over Port.

Saint Mark’s won every quarter on the night starting with the first taking a six-goal lead into quarter time. Going on with her form from the week before, Ellen Pole at goal keeper posed some problems for Saint Mark’s shooter Ashleigh Schrader as she managed to get around and deflect the long feeds into the goal ring.

Port were able to turn the ball over through the work of Pole and Abby Oliphant at goal defence, but a break down in attack usually resulted in some of the messy turnovers that cost Port dearly.  Schrader got her holding game going as the game went on and became unstoppable as she sunk goals from any range with ease.

At half time Saint Mark’s held a healthy nine-goal lead and motoring it down was always going to be a difficult task. Port needed more from goal attack Jordan Mezzino after a slow start in round two, and she responded, bringing a more consistent game and shooting performance into the goal circle this week.

Coach Deb Hayes tried something different in the second half, switching Nyasha Kerr to the centre and Lauren Lowe to the wing, but it was all Saint Mark’s after half time. The red, blue and yellow dominated the second half off the back of an outstanding performance from player of the week Calalou Klinger at goal keeper.

Klinger was everywhere, reeling in intercepts, creating deflections and pouncing on every loose ball; she is certainly shaping as favourite to take out player of the year honours. Best for Saint Mark’s were Klinger, Schrader and Chelsey Caputo in the centre while Port was well served by Mezzino, Lowe and Pole.

This week’s games move back into the JPSS gym for some Friday night action. At 6:30pm Central Risdon will come up against Port while in the game at 8pm Blue Wren will do battle against Saint Mark’s Celtic. Solomontown have the Bye.

In other netball news, on Sunday the association will be represented by six junior teams at the Spencer Gulf Netball Carnival in Port Augusta. Two teams from PPNA will play in various divisions of the U11, U13 and U15 competitions. The day will consist of a round robin format where Port Pirie’s finest juniors will compete against girls from the Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Northern Areas Netball Associations. If you want to get in on the action, the carnival is expected to start at around 9:30am at the Central Oval complex and finish in the late afternoon.