Finals fever hit the association on the weekend with Saint Marks Celtic and Central Risdon kicking off the action in the A Grade on Friday night. The two teams had been close throughout the season, and the crowd were poised for a fantastic game of netball.
Centrals drew first blood taking the first quarter by a goal. Playing with tenacity and speed, they were hard to match. Saint Marks, however, weren’t about to take the game lying down, as they kicked in to gear in a dominant second quarter to lead 25-27 at half time. Millie Tubb was at the top of her game shooting goals from all over, and was well supported by Ashleigh Schrader in shooter. Together, they denied the Centrals defence any shot at a rebound, while Centrals struggled to find consistency on the scoreboard in attack giving Callalou Klinger ample turnover opportunities under the ring. Another strong quarter from Saint Marks in the third seen them extend their lead to five as Centrals looked for some inspiration from their usual bests Sam Pine and Ashleigh Possingham. Brief periods of excellence in the last quarter gave the Centrals girls a sniff, as they looked to be coming from behind for a run-over win. However, Saint Marks always seemed to find something in the tank to keep them going as they came away with a hard fought seven goal win at the final whistle. Best for Saint Marks were Tubb, Schrader and Chelsey Caputo in centre, while Alana Pine at wing attack, Penny Malchow in goal shooter and Sam Pine in goal attack played well for Centrals.
In the final game of the night, minor premiers Blue Wren came up against reigning premiers Solomontown. Solomontown blistered out of the box, and were all over Blue Wren in the first five minutes of netball. Maddison Pryor was gaining possession and looked to be in for a big night while Emily Gray and Chloe Knibbs were able to get their hands on some important ball in defence. Blue Wren eventually pulled themselves together to only trail by one goal at quarter time but had plenty of work to do. The second quarter was again close, dominated by defence at both ends in a low scoring quarter. At the long break Wrens held a four goal lead, not enough to take their foot off with the experience of Solomontown on their tail. Georgia Scarman was doing everything she could in the centre for Solomontown, trying to capitalise on the work of Gray who was rebounding well. With Tayla Stevens in wing attack, Scarman worked tirelessly to feed her goalers in Pryor and Jacqui Spadavechia. However, the defensive pressure of Samarah Wark for Blue Wrens was making it hard to score. In a brilliant defensive display, Wark turned over ball after ball and aided by the accuracy of goal attack Kirby Symons, Blue Wrens were able to score their turnovers to run out winners 54-43. Best for Blue Wren were Wark, Symons and Tiah Peek in the centre while Scarman, Knibbs and Pryor had great games for Solomontown.
This Friday night following the A Reserve match, Saint Marks Celtic will take on Solomontown in the preliminary final, for the chance to play in the grand final. The A Reserves match will be played between Central Risdon and Central Risdon Green, with the winner playing Blue Wren in the grand final.