Netball Division 1 Round Recap
By Hugh Maclean
Dingley v Cheltenham
Dingley kicked off round eleven on the Thursday night against Cheltenham, and produced a result that says a lot more about them than it did about their opponents. Cheltenham had almost a full side worth of regular players unavailable, but Dingley were oh so ruthless in a crushing victory.
Both teams were keen to move the match from the Saturday as there were VNL commitments on both sides of the court. In contrast, however, to the decimation within the Cheltenham ranks, Dingley welcomed back Kirsty Clark from injury and fielded their strongest side since round two. Dingley started as they meant to finish, and with Ella Quinlan in irresistible form in finishing off the good work from further afield, they took a 24-10 lead to the first change. As if to add insult to injury, Dingley replaced Quinlan with Bianca Waras-Carstensen at quarter time and she wasted no time in putting her height to good use. Dingley rattled on another twenty goals in the second stanza, and with the score at 44-17 at half time the game was done as a contest.
The third quarter was comparatively quiet as Dingley did what they had to do. In doing so though, their defence remained water-tight, allowing Cheltenham just three goals of their own for the term as if to show the rest of the competition that they could win defensive battles as well. As players on both sides tired in the final quarter, the game opened up again as Dingley completed their night’s work by adding a further fifteen to their tally. The 50-strong Dingley crowd then crept away for celebratory nightcaps as Cheltenham were left to reflect that their path to the finals had been made somewhat more difficult, but would never be as difficult again as it was on this night.
Dingley 70 (Bianca Waras-Carstensen 26, Monique Lenehan-Moustafa 23, Ella Quinlan 21), defeated Cheltenham 27 (Sam Silvester 13, Gabriella Bull 10, Casey Evans 4)
Oakleigh District v Mordialloc
District took on Mordialloc and the two sides put on a first quarter which was as good a fifteen minutes of netball as had been seen in this season thus far. The two sides thrust and parried, both sides asking the difficult questions of the other and their opponents responding in kind. Mordialloc had the best of the early exchanges but Oakleigh District hit back to level late in the term and take a narrow lead. Mordialloc’s defensive press forced District into playing rather longer passes than they would like, but the Mifsud sisters in particular were equal to the task, passing the ball with length, accuracy and velocity.
Oakleigh led by one with thirty seconds to play in the first quarter, but Mordialloc hit back with two late goals which gave them an 8-7 quarter time lead. As if chastened by the impudence of it all, Oakleigh District hit the accelerator in the second term with a fair degree of force as their mid-court began to completely dominate and the height and agility of Gabby Dwyer proved too much to counter. Mordialloc, conversely, found their shooters needing to land their shots at the first time of asking as Ella Batish and Kirsten Daley rebounded anything that missed. A 21-12 half time lead was a big advantage to Oakleigh, and coach Sophie Durnan decided that the time had come to roll the dice, moving Dani Wilson from defence to attack. She immediately showed that she wasn’t afraid to mix it in the physical stakes with Ella Batish as Mordialloc mounted something of a charge. Sadly for the Reds, the shots refused to drop until late in the quarter, when four of the last five goals gave them at least a chance with a 32-24 deficit.
With coach Durnan’s exhortations that this was Mordialloc’s grand final ringing in their ears, the Reds threw everything they had at Oakleigh but the Oaks were resolute in their reply. Mordialloc’s youngsters Ellen Felberg and Jerzie Vernall continued to work their socks off but Oakleigh’s running and passing game was too strong, and sure shooting from Dwyer and the ever-reliable Bella Riddell carried Oakleigh District to a 43-30 win that, if it doesn’t make their semi-final spot safe, at least makes it somewhat more secure.
Oakleigh District 43 (Gabrielle Dwyer 28, Bella Riddell 15) defeated Mordialloc 30 (Kaylah Loulanting 18, Danielle Wilson 7, Lucy McKeown 5)
Caulfield v St Pauls
St Pauls will have celebrated long and loud into their Saturday night as they registered their first points of the season, continuing Caulfield’s miserable year by completing a meritorious 54-33 victory.
To be honest, the signs had been there. This win had been coming, and even at stages of this match, St Pauls showed characteristics of a side that could play netball but just didn’t have the self belief possessed of a team that knew how to win. However they did have the hunger for the contest that seemed to exceed that shown by their opponents. The likes of Sophie O’Shea, Tiffany McConnell and Phoebe Naughton played with the desperation of players that knew what needed to be done to achieve success, but this was not evident in some of their team-mates. The difference in intensity between the two sides allowed St Pauls to go to an early 5-1 lead after conceding the first goal. This gave the Saints a momentum that they were never to relinquish, and with Renee Derimboglou and Grace Healey working well for each other in the goal circle St Pauls led 16-10 at quarter time.
The second quarter became a bit more scrappy as Caulfield realised that they were in a game of netball and St Pauls entered into unchartered territory. Meg Collins shot well from distance for Caulfield, giving O’Shea fine support, but St Pauls made chances with good body positioning and steadied to lead 28-17 at the main break. Sophie O’Shea reassured her troops at half time that the work-rate was good and if they were to play a little smarter and protect the ball a little more diligently, Caulfield were still in the game. There were some really good battles in this term, with Steph Clemons moved onto the excellent Adele Gilmore, and Annaliese Hughes having a two-woman war with Sophie O’Shea. But St Pauls were right up for this game and had their confidence flowing freely, and a 41-24 lead at three-quarter time was always going to be tough to reel in.
Caulfield scored freely early in the final stanza, but the lead was too big and St Pauls were able to keep the scoreboard moving efficiently enough to stay out of trouble. St Pauls began to make every mistake in the book with the finish line in sight, giving coach Nellie Clarke heart failure and their small band of followers chewed fingernails. However, they were able to steady and pull away from their Caulfield opponents to score a convincing victory.
St Pauls 54 (Renee Derimboglou 34, Grace Healey 18, Zoe Lythgo 2) defeated Caulfield 33 (Sophie O’Shea 25, Meg Collins 8)
Points Table: Dingley 36; Heatherton 28; Oakleigh District 24; Mordialloc, Cheltenham 16; Caulfield 8; St Pauls 4