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ANN CONDER

Once again the Molyneux Courts were abuzz with whistles, coaches’ calls and excitement on Saturday during games throughout the day.

Despite the long weekend most games were played as scheduled.

I have often mentioned the thrill of driving towards the netball courts early on a Saturday to see the ice rink in full action, the young rugby boys preparing for their games, the regular Saturday morning swimmers hurrying out of the cold into the warmth of the pool, cars pouring into the netball car park, offloading their expectant and excited youngsters, and then in the afternoon seeing and hearing the football boys/men in obvious enjoyment as they play out their games.

The Molyneux Park area is an amazing hub for sport in Central Otago.

There were definitely some surprise results again this weekend, but also some predictability with others.

Although Cromwell College A put up a strong battle, Molyneux A was able to take that game 37-21, while Dunstan A was dominant in its game against Roxburgh Area School A, winning 39-12.

Ex-Girls showed their enthusiasm and strength of character when they came up against Dunstan B. Having lost Elaisa Bakani the week before with an Achilles heel injury and Kim Whipp in the first game of the season, it was great they had the resources to field such a strong team this week when they played the determined school team.

Dunstan B showed patience bringing the ball down court, passing sideways and driving into space until an opening came.

However, the Ex-Girls defensive line-up of Shelley Sanders, Kerry Fahey and Erin Bennie was ready to pounce on any wayward or weak passes.

Once the intercept was made, the Ex-Girls’ attack, led by mother and daughter team of Carmen and Brie Monaghan, pushed through to score consistently.

It was nice to see Carmen Monaghan still using her familiar long pass into her shooters from the centre third.

Ex-girls won that game 29-16.

At this very early stage of the season Molyneux A and Dunstan A are leading the A grade, followed closely by Ex-Girls.

An important game this weekend will be Cromwell College A up against Roxburgh Area School A at 10am.

Dunstan 10 A and Dunstan Senior Reserve are on top of B grade, closely followed by Dunstan 11A and Alexandra Anaheras.

This grade is shaping up to be closely fought, and I will be keeping a close eye on those games.

There were definitely surprising scores this week. Dunstan 10A beat Envy 45-19 and Dunstan Senior Reserve beat the young Dunstan 9A 34-8.

There has been a changing of the guard in the year 7-8 competition this year.

We have watched teams from Cromwell College, Maniototo and St Gerard’s develop strength over the past couple of years and now we are seeing the benefits of strong coaching coming through.

At this stage Cromwell College Jnr A is unbeaten with 12 points while Maniototo Steel and St Gerard’s Steel are close behind.

I can see the tussle between Camille O’Connor’s St Gerard’s Steel and Belinda Colling’s Maniototo Steel will continue throughout the season with a match.

After their games this week many high school teams will be heading to Dunedin for the annual Dunedin secondary schools tournament.

There are three sections in the tournament allowing for year 9 teams in the junior grade.

Year 10 teams play for the intermediate grade title and then the school senior teams play for the senior title.

The tournament is run over Sunday and Monday of this weekend and Central Otago teams generally fare well in this competition. Best wishes to them.