By ANN CONDER
There were certainly many red faces around the courts when the sun came out – and I’m thinking there would have been some tired bodies on Sunday following the first round of Central Otago netball last Saturday.
Dunstan A met Cromwell College A in the first round of games for the day.
Dunstan took an early lead and held it for the game, but at no stage did Cromwell College ease up in its efforts to reduce the gap.
In the first quarter the team from Cromwell showed better flow through court and were more willing to pass the ball around and across the circle to get a better shooting position.
At that stage, the Dunstan girls were less confident to let the ball go, and the second quarter was drawn.
Changes were made at halftime. Tegan Chapman came off the Dunstan bench to take the centre position, and what an impact she made.
Coach Stacey Elliot would have to pleased with youngster Mekah O’Neill, who started in the centre then went into goal defence, and also Maddie Waldron, who looked very comfortable in her first A Grade game at goalkeeper – looking remarkably like her mum, Adele, did when playing for Dunstan A many years ago.
Dunstan B was certainly the underdog when it came up against Molyneux A but, like Cromwell College, it did not show any signs of giving up – in fact, it drew the final quarter. The score was 49-15, thanks to Molyneux using its experience and skill to look forward, pass into the gap and turn and shoot.
This was not a showy game, but we were treated to a display of balanced attack and defence with slick through-court passes.
I really enjoyed watching the game between Dunstan 9A and Dunstan 10A.
This was a good opportunity for the 9A team to slot into the senior competition. It truly is amazing what a difference a year as senior players does for these girls.
The 10As had more confidence and understanding of the game, although Grace Moir and Emily Templeton, from the 9As, shot accurately from around the circle.
It will be interesting watching both of these teams this season.
There is a ton of talent just waiting to be developed.
Nowadays, the senior and primary competitions are run alongside each other throughout the day. I believe this has been a very successful initiative, although it can make for a long day, depending on game times.
It was lovely to see senior primary and high school pupils helping out with coaching the Future Ferns, as well as umpiring the year 7/8 games.
The umpires had been at a seminar early on Saturday morning and some were still at the courts controlling games in the last round.
Well done to Katie Willcocks and Isabella Herbert for their umpiring efforts during that last round.
Catching the eye of players and coaches were Neleah Mandison and Bethan Spooner when they were umpiring Earnscleugh Emeralds and Envy.
The high school pupils were clear and confident in their calls when umpiring the senior women’s teams and kept the game under control without falter.
These two aspiring umpires and players will be a valuable asset to the area.
The Central Otago under-17 representative team was announced recently.
It is training for a tournament in Waitakere in July – The Netball NZ U17 champs, Netball New Zealand’s largest event.
Between 32 and 40 netball centres compete in this four-day, outdoor tournament, the only domestic event held outdoors.
The event is a key stepping stone for players along the development pathway.
The Central Otago team is: Emma Paul, Reese Kerr, Shanae Forbes, Annie Hansen, Lia Chapman, Mackenzie Prew, Mackenzie Ealson, Maddy Waldron, Mekah O’Neill and Tegan Chapman.
The team will be coached by Megan Morrison.
Congratulations and best wishes to this team.