SFNL Netball Round Reviews brought to you by yellow tail wines.
By Hugh Maclean
This weeks’ Division 1 programme commenced at the somewhat ungodly hour of 9.40am, when the air is thick and cold and most netballers are having their pre-game breakfast. Bentleigh were very accommodating in agreeing to Dingley’s request to switch times, and they seemed to be energised by the early start. Whilst Bentleigh have not got the results that they would have been looking for, no side comes away from playing them without one heck of a scrap, and this was no exception, with Dingley needing to draw on all their nous and flair before prevailing to the tune of 43 to 37.
With the Keysborough girls at an overseas wedding, thus handing the four points to Heatherton, the only other Division 1 match played was between Caulfield and St Kilda City. This turned out to be a fine game of netball in challenging conditions, with both sides moving the ball well and handling with more surety than could have been expected of them. Caulfield were of the belief that their best option was to move the ball quickly, and with Fotini Stavrou and Makayla Bulte excellent in providing the bullets for the shooters to fire, Caulfield looked strong early. St Kilda City operated better with the game at a slower tempo, and with their defence encouraged to take front position against their highly-rated opponents they were able to claw their way back from 20-13 down to be only one goal in arrears at half time. It’s in the third term that Caulfield made their move, and this time there would be no coming back, with the Bearettes securing victory by 38-32.
Division 2’s match of the day saw the undefeated Heatherton take on a Mordialloc side on a four-match unbeaten run of their own. The two leading shooters in the division, Bella Riddell of Heatherton and Bec Britton of Mordialloc, were on show here, and this game showcased exactly why as both showed impressive accuracy with a wet and heavy ball. It was the speed and precision of Heatherton’s ball movement that was the telling factor in a game between two sides that have the potential to go deep into the finals race, with Heatherton keeping the Reds at arm’s length throughout the day to post a 41-33 victory.
Bentleigh played CPL in a game that both sides were looking to win to stay in touch with the top four. This was an enthralling encounter in which the Bentleigh girls were made to work hard to get the front position in attack, with CPL defending doggedly. When they were able to force the turnover, the CPL girls worked the ball down the court with slick passing movements and patience in waiting for the right opportunity to appear. If anything the CPL side looked slightly the better around the court, but the one factor that they could not counter was Bentleigh’s height in attack, and this was crucial in a 43-30 victory which puts Bentleigh into the four at Mordialloc’s expense.
In the final game of the weekend, Chelsea Heights took on St Kilda City knowing that they had not had a win for the season, which may surprise some Division 2 watchers. They have pushed their opposition to the hilt in several clashes without quite being able to bring home the biscuits, but that was not to be today. After a tense, cagey opening where movement was static and thus opportunities were relatively few, Chelsea Heights took the early initiative and never looked back. As the match went on it was the girls from Chelsea Heights that looked the more fluent, and in doing so they stretched their nine-goal half time lead to salute by 43 to 24. In doing so they climbed off the bottom of the ladder, handing eighth spot to their opponents.
In Division 3, the undefeated Heatherton put their foot down and asserted their authority over Mordialloc, 39-18 being the margin. St Kilda City hold second spot after winning the closest game of the day over Caulfield, by 48-44. Black Rock kept up the pressure on the top four, beating Clayton by 32-25, while Keysborough ensured that Skye remained winless, emerging victorious by 46-35.
Division 4’s pacesetters Dingley had the bye, with the four top challengers all winning. Keysborough beat Lyndale 26-20, Heatherton White outlasted Highett 45-31, Heatherton Black were too good for East Brighton 40-19, and South Yarra had little trouble with Springvale Districts, winning 43-16. St Kilda City kept their finals hopes alive by beating Caulfield 48-38.
Only Lyndhurst of the top six tasted defeat in Division 5. Heatherton kept their unbeaten season going by beating them by 49-26. Black Rock belted Chelsea Heights by 58-19, while Dandenong were too good for Mordialloc by 47-28. Bentleigh took Lyndhurst’s position in the four by being a little too composed for Cheltenham, winning by 34-28, while St Kilda City held on against an improving Skye by 48-40.
The three top sides have cleared out a bit in Division 6. Lyndhurst are out in front, and they defeated fourth-placed St Kilda City by 55-29. The other three games were close affairs, with South Yarra beating CPL 38-33, Lyndale too good for Clayton by 28-24, and Highett leaving Hampton alone at the foot of the ladder, winning 31-25. The Friday night clash between Dingley and Caulfield didn't go ahead due to the inclement weather and will be rescheduled, most likely to this coming Friday night. This will be a tough ask for both teams, as they will have to back up for matches the following day.
First played last in Division 7, with Mount Waverley retaining top spot by beating Black Rock 39-26. The other games were a bit more even. Heatherton took second place from Bentleigh by beating them by 41-37, Oakleigh District leapfrogged Bentleigh into third spot by beating Murrumbeena 43-36, while Doveton’s narrow 23-22 win over South Yarra ensured that they stayed clear of the bottom of the ladder.
Cheltenham asserted their authority at the top of the Division 8 ladder with their 56-29 win over Dandenong. Heatherton kicked 16 points clear in second spot, beating Lyndhurst 51-9. Keysborough firmed their fourth spot by beating Doveton by 44-5.
The Under 19s sees the two Dingley sides in the top two positions. While the Ones had the bye, the Twos beat Mordialloc Two 44-13. In the day’s other clash Mordialloc One beat Skye 25-17.