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17 July 2019
By Colin MacGillivray
Swifts might not have punched their Horsham District netball finals ticket yet, but they took a big step in that direction by defeating Noradjuha-Quantong at the weekend.
The Baggies and Bombers entered round 13 even on points, with Swifts sitting sixth by percentage alone.
The winner of the match was guaranteed to finish the round inside the top six – a huge leg up in the finals race with only four games left for both teams.
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It was Noradjuha-Quantong that got the better start, with goal shooter Lucy Brand and goal attack Lucy King scoring seven goals apiece to give the Bombers a one-goal lead at quarter time.
In the second quarter the Baggies fought back, with Michaela Armer netting 10 of her game-high 29 goals in the term to help turn the deficit into a seven-goal lead by half time.
The Bombers refused to lie down, narrowing the gap in the third term, but could not manage to retake complete control of the game.
With Swifts bookends Jade Ralph and Erin Freeland starting to get on top of their match-ups, the Baggies powered through the last quarter to win 51-41.
The Baggies have a favourable run home with matches against Pimpinio, Taylors Lake and Rupanyup – all below them on the ladder – and should be able to sew up a finals berth.
The Bombers must beat Jeparit-Rainbow this weekend to give themselves any hope of overtaking Swifts, but face a daunting task.
The Storm nearly upset undefeated reigning premier Natimuk United at the weekend, going down by just six goals.
With Rylee Cocks playing well at centre and Ebony Spokes battling Ewe Alysha Liston at goal defence, Jeparit-Rainbow was neck and neck with Natimuk United at quarter time.
Although the Ewes opened up a four-goal lead in the next term, they were unable to comfortably extend their advantage.
Their eventual 41-35 win was set up by wing attack Cheryl Sudolz and centre Michelle Trigg, who worked hard to combat Cocks’ influence.
The Ewes retained top spot with the win and will have a bye in round 14.
Other matches at the weekend saw Edenhope-Apsley defeat Taylors Lake 54-45, Kalkee top Rupanyup 56-45 and Laharum trounce Pimpinio 65-28.
The Lakers entered round 13 on a high after recording their first A Grade win in seven years, and their newfound confidence showed as they stuck with the Saints step for step in the first half.
Defender Grace Dixon was once again in the thick of the action for the Lakers, keeping Saint Georgia Lowe relatively quiet.
Danielle Johnson and Jorrdan Weir kept the scoreboard humming for the Lakers, but Edenhope-Apsley’s class won out in the end as Saints goal shooter Ariana Ralph netted 40 goals to lead her team to victory.
The Lakers will join Natimuk United as one of three teams with a bye next round, as will Laharum.
The Demons continued their dominant season against Pimpinio with Caitlin Story scoring 42 goals despite a solid game from Tiger defenders Erin and Anna Habel.
Erin Mellington was another standout for the Demons at wing attack.
Kalkee was also imperious against Rupanyup, winning easily despite the return of Panthers coach Kayla Woods.
A strong game from Kee Clair McDonald kept dangerous Rupanyup goal attack Olivia Huebner to just 11 goals, putting the bulk of the scoring burden on the shoulders of Blair Burke.
Kiarah House played valiantly for Rupanyup at goal keeper, but the weight of entries into Kalkee’s attacking goal ring proved telling.
The Kees will host Edenhope-Apsley next round.
The entire July 17, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!