Judgement time at the courts
Story by: Jonathan McKoeown - Nelson Mail - Photo by: Barry Whitnall - Shuttersport
The third week of the championship round tonight will see the current standings shuffled as each premier grade netball team play an opposition with the same amount of wins under their bibs.
For some winners at Saxton Stadium a semi-final spot will be fait accompli and for some teams who fail to pick up a victory, the phrase 'building for next year' is likely to be banded about a lot in the remaining two rounds. But as yet, everyone still has a chance and no one is safe.
On centre court at 6pm Jacks OPD Richmond and Waimea College Senior A will come together as the competitions two unbeaten sides in the third
round of the 2012 competition. However that's as far as the similarities in terms of how they got to this point.
Jacks have always been at the top, unbeaten not just in this round but the two preceding ones also. Whereas for Waimea, being at the top is new territory this season, as they have gone from strength to strength and seem to be peaking at the right end of the season. This match also sees the two Tasman Trophy champions go head-to-head. However, that Jacks won grade one and Waimea grade two should give a hint of who the favourites may be in this match.
Another team that is building towards a zenith is Stoke NBS and their battle with Richmond Robbies Bar & Bistro in the late match at 7.30pm should be the match of the round. Without a few core members of their team Richmond suffered an early loss to Waimea, but like champions do, they bounced back into scintillating form last week. If Richmond have their top team on court they are more than a chance to defend their title. Stoke on the other hand may just have moved in under the radar this season, a run of average results in the first two rounds have been belied by some true contenders form in recent weeks. Playing with a consistent combination Stoke claimed a bonus point off Jacks last weekend and are looking to go one better tonight.
Concurrent to the first match of the evening Prices Pharmacy A and Wanderers Taylors A meet on court two at 6pm. A loss for either side will see any slim hopes of semi-final spot evaporate as both enter the match without a win this round.