Richmond recover to beat focused students
Story by: Jonathan McKoeown - Photo by: Marc Palmano - Shuttersport
Richmond righted the ship against Waimea College and Prices have wind in their sails after surging past Stoke on the line but Jacks remain the team to beat after sinking Wanderers in round four of Nelson Netball's premier division.
Richmond Robbie's Bar and Bistro came out on court one at Saxton Stadium seeking to redress a sub-par performance the week prior.
The experienced ensemble shot out to a quick 8-1 lead over Waimea College Senior A on the way to a 59-40 victory.
Waimea were not going to be left behind though, as the college girls showed just how good they can be. After clawing back the deficit to 13-12 at quarter time Waimea went on to take the lead early in the second, and another upset looked possible.
"The school girls rattled our girls. Richmond historically has played that way against the school teams because they are unpredictable and they go for every ball," said Richmond co-coach Cindy Turipa.
"I think we started positively and we ended positively, but we lost our flow in the middle."
The middle stages of the match were a real scrap as Waimea gave their all in a great effort to knock the defending champions off their stride.
"In the first half they fought for every ball. I was pleased with that. Our game plan was to slow them down and we did but we let it slip," said Waimea coach Faye Eden.
It seemed whenever Waimea got the turnover they were looking for, they got called for stepping or a three-second violation and by three-quarter time Richmond opened up a 10-goal lead.
"Those calls affect us. We are school kids, an adult would say `Yeah right, whatever', and move on but as school kids they get their heads down a bit and that's just a thing we have to work on," said Eden.
In the final period Waimea were playing catch-up netball and that brought the spoiling skills of goal defence Kat Jones into play.
The defending champions seized on any loose passes to finish strides ahead.
Waimea may have lost by a significant margin, but they were right in the match for long periods and caused trouble for a Richmond midcourt that was without Sharon Finch.
Waimea's Ella Marwick shaded her opposite Lisa Book and in combination with outstanding goal defence/attack Gracie Roberts they pressed well.
The late game on court one was absorbing as Prices Pharmacy took on Stoke NBS in a mid-table clash. Nothing separated the two well-balanced and evenly matched sides through 50 minutes of netball, but when the pressure went on Prices delivered.
Stoke had the better of the first half taking a one-point lead into quarter time and extending that margin for a narrow 31-28 lead at the half-time break. In the third period, Prices pulled it back by two goals and the one-point difference was restored, 45-44 to Stoke.
Whatever formula Prices have going at the moment, it definitely kicks in the final quarter. In almost a carbon copy of their upset win over Richmond, Prices turned a deficit into a 61-55 win, denying the opposition a bonus point in the process.
"They definitely got a bullet after the third quarter. We weren't very happy so they heard how we felt and it was great to see they stepped up," said Tom Alesana, assistant coach for Prices Pharmacy.
"We always knew that Stoke was going to be tough and that we had to stay close if we were going to have an eye in. So it was really good the girls stayed determined to win.
"Kat Soper [centre] worked her butt off in the middle today. She is the one who keeps going and motivates everyone around her."
Stoke seemed like they were in control through long periods of the match, feeding with ease in straight lines to goal shoot Megan Thomson.
At the other end of the court, Vanessa Hislop and Emily Stalker disrupted a lot of ball but missed game-winning opportunities by failing to pull in defensive rebounds.
Prices seemed to squeeze like a boa constrictor in the final stanza until the pressure was too much to bear and Stoke coughed up a couple of turnovers that cost them a match they had every chance of winning.
"I thought it was a great game, but we didn't deserve to win it. At the end of the day we gave it away, ourselves," said Stoke coach Priyani de Silva-Currie.
"The girls worked very hard for 55 minutes of that game. Apart from the crucial errors in the last five minutes we found a lot of space and worked hard. All credit to Prices, they play a game that works for them."
Earlier, Jacks OPD Richmond continued their unbeaten start to the season and look to be gathering momentum ahead of a highly anticipated final round clash with Richmond. Jacks were far too good for an understrength Wanderers Taylors A, winning every quarter in a 77-26 clobbering.
Wanderers coach Jared Lock said the heavy defeat came down to a combination of their team missing some frontline players and coming up against a top team.
"We had broken ribs, we had the flu and we had pulled hip flexors. We are not taking anything away from Jacks, they are a nice outfit and their movement through court is just spectacular and we didn't adjust."
Jacks coach Robyn Leonard said she could not be happier with where her side are at now following a slow start to the season.
"It was another good four quarters from us. Our defence off the centre pass was fantastic and we won quite a lot of clean ball.
"Next week we've got Richmond so it will be a huge difference from the game we just had. We will have to have our timing sorted and look after our ball."