The conditions at National Park were anything but favourable on Saturday afternoon, keeping many shooters from racking up considerable tallies.
The winds did little to dull the fierce contest between Souths Lions and BNC Whanau however, with the close match coughing up 82 goals between two of the top-placed sides in the Greater Open Championship.
The difference in the end was just two goals for BNC, coming off strong performances from both Caitlin Lobston and co-captain Samantha Belcher, the latter of whom praised the team’s “consistent” performance.
“[We] really led out from defence and we are really liking Dakota [Thomas] sitting at the back there, she did a really good job,” Belcher said.
“The team is ecstatic with the win, we were really going in as the underdogs … we have a team full on injuries, so we’re really happy to get out there and get the win today.”
Despite key injuries – a list that was added to late in the match when Thomas limped from the court – BNC led for three of the four quarters, including a 5-goal margin at the half break.
Souths showed their pedigree as they took control in the third quarter, scoring 13 to 7 to claim a 1-goal lead, but it wasn’t enough to keep BNC out of the game.
The match was also book-ended with a stoppage in play that saw Souths’ shooter Brooke Fennings sent from the field by the officials, and the Lions played out the last minutes with just six on-court.
Belcher commented on the blustery conditions that threatened to throw both sides’ shooters out of pattern over all four quarters.
“As a shooter, not the best, but those conditions probably suited our style of netball better and you learn pretty quickly in this grade you have to play to the conditions,” she said.
“That said, Caitlin Lobston played very well leading into the circle, she shot probably 90% so she did a great job.”
The win moves BNC onto 18 points in the standings, equal to Souths Lions and below them in third due only to point difference.
Also in the early time slot at National Park, West Leagues Balance 1’s shooters – Madeleine Taylor and Rhiannon Stokes – seemed unperturbed by the high winds as they climbed to a 62-goal haul.
Souths Pride struggled more in the conditions, and against the defending premiers’ defence, scoring just 21 to fall by 41 goals.
Later on, as the rains set in alongside the wind, Forsythes Business Advisors defeated Nova Thunder 34-28 to draw level with them in the standings, while Maryville Tavern Alize also moved onto 16 points with a 9-goal win over West Leagues Balance 2, 38-29.
TABLE: Wests 1 (22), Souths Lions, BNC (18), Maryville, Forsythes, Nova (16), Wests 2 (12), Souths Pride (10).