A review of the Section 1-4 grand finals at Parade College last Friday night.
Section 1 Grand Final – Diamond Creek 1 vs Greensborough 1
Diamond Creek claimed an historic eight-successive premiership in Section 1 of the Northern Netball League.
With an early lead and a strong second half, the Creekers convincingly beat Greensborough by 29 goals in the grand final at Parade College.
The first quarter set Diamond Creek on the front foot, powering to an early 10-goal advantage.
Greensborough shooters Chantelle and Bianca Power had a few nervy moments early in the piece. Despite teammates being able to feed them the ball, their missed shots meant Greensborough was unable to keep touch with its more fancied rival.
As the quarter ended, defenders Sarah Collard and Eilish Flagg, were pulled up more consistently. Diamond Creek defenders, Lynsey Barrett and Verhonda Smith on the other hand, blocked Borough’s chances at goals.
The second quarter proved much better for Greensborough. GS Chantelle Power found her range in the ring and was putting up her shots with more confidence.
They Boro started the quarter well and closed within seven goals, with the score standing at 21-14.
Diamond Creek still managed to score almost every time the ball entered its shooting third and entered the half time break with an eight-goal lead.
However the Boro weren’t able to continue their comeback into the second half, with Diamond Creek’s pressure causing many missed passes and turnovers.
Diamond Creek defenders made it difficult for Borough to score goals. With a big margin approaching the final term it looked almost impossible for Greensborough to make a difference this half.
With scores standing at 43-27 Diamond Creek’s way, the Creekers made elegant play look effortless in the final term, running the ball down the court without disruption.
Borough couldn’t make a dent in the scoreboard but their efforts throughout the game were substantial.
Greensborough finished off the game in high spirits, and as their coach Sharon Ashworth pointed out, the score didn’t reflect their efforts.
The best on court medallion was awarded to Olivia Ellis of Greensborough, however Diamond Creek were crowned grand final winners with a 64-35 result.
Final score: Diamond Creek 1 (64) def Greensborough 1 (35)
Section 2 Grand Final – Ivanhoe 1 vs Diamond Creek 2
The high standard of competition displayed at Parade College last Friday night saw another grand final end in a fourth quarter cliff hanger.
Ivanhoe was outdone by Diamond Creek by six goals despite putting up a good fight in the end to recover the margin Diamond Creek set at the beginning of the quarter.
The result set up a big night for Diamond Creek, whose Section 1 side followed up with another premiership triumph in the game that followed.
Scores were set at 6-5 early in the first quarter. Diamond Creek’s defenders Simone Turner and Melissa Whitten kept the Ivanhoe girls on their toes attacking on their missed shots and gaining rebounds.
Ivanhoe struggled to find free players around the court and Diamond Creek jumped on the chance to regain possession.
However, Ivanhoe wouldn’t let them get far and made it difficult for Diamond Creek’s shooters to move into optimal shooting positions. GD Lauren Henderson held arms over and kept her opponent at a distance from the post, scoring a held ball.
The second quarter was still tight, however Diamond Creek managed to push ahead by a few more goals this term. Diamond Creek defenders Whitten and Turner forced a great deal of pressure on Ivanhoe shooters forcing them to pass around the third, looking back for support.
Diamond Creek lost possession on multiple occasions this quarter, however Ivanhoe wasn’t able to make good use of these opportunities and trailed by five at the main break.
Although the Ivanhoe girls were behind at half time, they were determined to keep up the fight in the second half and managed to get within three goals of the competition’s top side..
Diamond Creek was able to show great composure during the last quarter and was able to take back control of the game to extend out to a seven-goal advantage.
Ivanhoe continued to fight out the contest and closed back within four goals at one point, however the Creekers held their nerve late in the game to win by six goals.
It was a deserved win for Diamond Creek after a dominant home and away season.
The best on court medallion went to Diamond Creek GK Melissa Whitten.
Final score: Diamond Creek 2 (29) def Ivanhoe 1 (23)
Section 3 Grand Final – Mernda 1 vs Watsonia 1
Mernda 1 was made to work right until the end as they rose from behind to overthrow Watsonia’s in the final minutes of the last quarter.
The grand final was tight every quarter and came down to the final term, where Watsonia’s lead was pipped by the Demons, who found their stride and took home the cup.
The first quarter was an indication of how competitive these two teams were. Mernda centre Hayley Birch collided with Watsonia GK Jessica Schumann who came through for the ball and contacted Birch.
As the first quarter neared its end the scores were tied at 7-all. With a contact by a Watsonia defender, Mernda took a penalty shot after the siren but couldn’t make the shot and the score remained locked.
The second quarter begun just as close. Mernda defenders Brittany Talbot and Mariah Craven were tight, blocking off Watsonia shooters from getting into the circle and applying immense pressure on their shots.
Both Mernda and Watsonia scooped up loose balls, intercepted passes and forced errors on each other.
Watsonia held a small lead throughout the whole third quarter. They moved well into their attacking third and were able to score a few successive goals and at the last change led 25 to 23.
The final quarter saw a constant two-goal difference in the beginning but by halfway through the teams were all square at 30-all.
Watsonia shooters Georgia Cornell and Anna Kennedy managed to get one up on Mernda as it looked like their side would claim an upset grand final win.
The pressure in the final minutes was too fever pitch and when the opportunity presented itself Mernda went in for the taking, getting ahead by one in the final minute, then scoring a final goal to seal a thrilling two-goal victory.
The Best on Court medallion went to Georgia Cornell, shooter for Watsonia 1.
Final score: Mernda 1 (34) def Watsonia 1 (32)
Section 4 Grand Final – Greensborough 3 vs North Heidelberg
A gripping grand final almost ended in a draw but unfortunately for the top team, Greensborough 3, a grand final victory slipped through their fingers on the final siren.
North Heidelberg 3 was a force to be reckoned with throughout the night. Scores were tied continually through the first quarter as each teams centre lines created good chances for their shooters.
From the outset the game looked as though it could go either way. Greensborough took the lead late in the first term, scoring a goal in the final seconds to lead 10-9.
Entering the second quarter North Heidelberg evened scores right away with the opening goal.
North Heidelberg players Rhiannon Kelly and Carina Mills collided with each other as they ran towards the ball. Thankfully both players recovered quickly and continued playing.
As their side slowly edged ahead, Borough defenders Kate Love and Sinead Flynn forced turnovers from rebounded shots and held balls.
Greensborough sat six goals in front at half time, but what could have been their third quarter to run away with the game, ended with North Heidelberg sitting just a goal behind following a great fightback.
After a long season, the premiership all came down to the final quarter of the year.
North Heidelberg pushed forward in the beginning, as GA Gabriella Menabue sunk a long shot in the ring, before GS Cassandra Leech had strong hands on the rebounds to put North Heidelberg up by three goals.
As the clock ticked down, the pressure intensified and the supporters grew louder as the scores became neck and neck.
With scores tied North Heidelberg got the ball to their GS Leech who scored the goal to put her side ahead with 30 seconds remaining.
With only 10 seconds to go, Borough’s centre fed quickly into GA Caitlyn Meffin. She released the ball just as the siren sounded, but unfortunately for the Boro the shot missed, leading to euphoric scenes for North Heidelberg.
The Best on Court medallion was awarded to Gabrielle Menabue, shooter for North Heidelberg 3.
Final score: North Heidelberg 3 (37) def Greensborough 3 (36)