City too good for Marlins, Hunters's finals hopes take a blow and Central still unbeaten in weekend of women's sport in Newcastle

Netball: BNC take down Lions

BNC Whanau declared the Greater Open Championship would be anything but a two-horse race when they beat three-time defending champions Souths Lions 44-42 in a nail-biting affair on Saturday.

It was just the second loss for the Lions this year, and for the past three seasons.

BNC were inspired to victory by a best-on-court display from skipper Sam Belcher with coach Cherie Aoake-Puru rating the wing attack’s performance at National Park as outstanding.

“She [Belcher] had a phenomenal game,” Aoake-Puru said. “She just drove the entire court and was our strongest player.” 

Belcher’s performance in the tight tussle was timely with BNC missing four regulars, including former national league basketballer Mikaela Dombkins and Australian schoolgirls representative Dakota Thomas.

Dombkins’ older sister Rebekah Wallace debuted for BNC at centre. 

Aoake-Puru also praised the efforts of shooting pair Caity Lobston and Lucy Geise, who shot “up around the 90 [per cent] mark”.

The lead changed several times with BNC  ahead after the first quarter but the Lions holding the ascendancy at the remaining two breaks. 

It was BNC’s third straight win and keeps them within striking distance of the top three.

West Leagues Balance recovered from their first loss of the season by thumping Maryville Tavern 61-15, Forsythes Business Advisors joined the Lions in second spot on the competition ladder after beating last-placed Junction Stella 54-39 and Nova Thunder jumped Souths Pride into sixth with a 47-41 triumph.

AFL: Blues seize outright lead

Newcastle City declared their premiership intentions with an 85-point win over defending champions Nelson Bay.

The two competition heavyweights have been on a collision course since the Marlins came from behind to win last year’s grand final.

Both made unbeaten starts to the season and a much closer scoreline was expected at Dick Burwell Oval on Saturday. 

Nelson Bay made a strong start but sustained a big blow when they lost ruck Pippa Smyth to injury early on.

Lisa Steane was in her usual outstanding form but City proved way too good for the Marlins, winning 15.16 (106) to 3.3 (21).

Meaghan MacDonald kicked five goals for City and Ashlee Hayllar, Paige Mathewson and Ellie Starkey all managed three goals.

Sophie Balcombe, Emily Nichols and Jessica Phillips all kicked one goal each for Nelson Bay.

Maitland beat Newcastle Novas 23.21 (159) to 0.1 (1), Gosford defeated Warners Bay 11.10 (76) to 1.5 (11), Wyong Lakes downed Lake Macquarie 9.12 (66) to 4.3 (27), Killarney Vale won their encounter with Cardiff 18.13 (121) to 0.1 (1), and Singleton beat Muswellbrook 5.7 (37) to 1.1 (7).

Basketball: Bruins too good for Hunters

Newcastle's Waratah Basketball League women's title defence suffered another blow when they were thumped 83-50 by Bankstown Bruins at Bankstown on Sunday.

The Hunters were chasing a win to try to leap-frog the Bruins and climb towards the top four but struggled to establish any offensive rhythm and were monstered on the boards.

Bankstown shot 41% to Newcastle's 29% and out-rebounded the Hunters 47-32.

The loss left Newcastle with a 4-7 win-loss record in sixth spot. Bankstown (6-4) climbed to fourth after beating Illawarra 57-38 on Saturday.

Suzy Batkovic led Newcastle with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Cassidy McLean chipped in with 10 points and six boards.

Leaguetag: Central juggernaut continues

Central extended their unbeaten streak to eight games with a comprehensive 56-0 win over Macquarie as the top four sides all consolidated their positions in Newcastle Rugby League ladies leaguetag over the weekend.

Second-placed Lakes beat fifth-placed Kurri Kurri 16-6, fourth-placed Souths beat Cessnock 52-4 and third-placed Wests defeated Maitland 42-0.

WPL: Mid North Coast win in tough conditions

Mid North Coast improved to fourth place with a 2-0 win over Thornton in the only Herald Women's Premier League match to go ahead in rain-affected conditions on Sunday. 

The score was locked at nil-all at half-time but Sophie Jones broke the deadlock for the visitors midway through the second half with a low shot which skidded past Redbacks goalkeeper Danielle Redding and into the back of the net. 

Shannon Day extended the lead to 2-0 when she capitalised on an opportunity at the top of the Redbacks’ box and beat an outstretched Redding.

Both sides had other missed opportunities and Thornton coach Robbie Richardson felt that cost his side.

“We were pushing on and had some chances but could not put them away,” Richardson said.

“I was a bit disappointed for the girls because I thought a draw would've been a fair result today.”

The win elevated Mid North Coast to 14 points, two clear of South Wallsend in fifth and three behind third-placed Adamstown.

Rugby: Uni win tight match

Maitland proved no match for Wanderers in Hunter Women’s Rugby Union on Saturday with the Two Blues winning 44-0.

It was a much tighter affair in the other match of the round as University emerged victorious 33-31 over Merewether Carlton.