By ANN CONDER
There is something special about playing netball outside – a rare phenomenon these days.
Players and spectators are totally at the mercy of the weather gods and it was certainly that way last Saturday in Alexandra.
Dressed in puffer jackets and sporting sunglasses, one was unsure how to feel, but the fire at home sounded inviting.
The soup sold out early, as did the pies and there was a constant queue at the coffee caravan.
The slightly cooler day was probably kinder to the players and this is seen in the number of higher scoring games, or games where the result was decided in the final quarter.
Ex-Girls were leading their game against Dunstan A until the last quarter, which Dunstan won 13-10 to take the game 32-23.
An interesting tussle took place in the centre court with the mother-daughter battle between Elaisa and Tegan Chapman until mum, Elaisa, had to leave the court with an injury.
I had predicted the game of the day might be between Cromwell College A and Dunstan B.
This was a great game, but there were close scores in other games as well.
Both teams started strongly, but it appeared from the sideline that Dunstan B may have had the initial edge due to their strong mid-court zone defence.
Three through-court plays in a row by Cromwell College were thwarted by the Dunstan B zone, making it relatively easy for wing defence Gabrielle Saladino to take the interceptions.
Jayda King at goal defence had a strong game, rebounding well and following the ball through the court when her team was on attack.
Cromwell College settled into the game and eventually came out on top 25-23.
Another close game was the clash between the experience of Alexandra Anahera and the youth and enthusiasm of Dunstan 10A.
Once again, from the sideline it appeared Alexandra Anahera was in full control, but it went right to the wire with Dunstan 10A winning 27-26.
This would have been a huge boost for the high school team, in their first full match against senior women this year.
I have to confess to a little misinformation in last week’s column.
The Central Otago Under-17 team will not be heading to nationals in July, but they started their representative campaign with a tournament in Invercargill last weekend.
They also have tournaments in Dunedin on June 16 and Balclutha on June 30.
The local selectors will be looking at under-15 and under-14 players in the coming weeks to form representative teams at those levels.
We do not see primary school representative teams now, but all players in years 7- 8 are able to enrol in a development camp during the July holidays. Information about that camp will be available soon.
Netball nuts around the country were waiting for the announcement, last Thursday, of the Silver Ferns team for the World Cup competition in Liverpool, England, in July.
There were probably no real surprises in the selection of our national team and we will all be watching closely to see if our ANZ championship has provided the level of netball required to prepare our players for the challenges of international netball.
Hopefully we will see a turn around after the best forgotten Commonwealth Games campaign.
Local players will be out and about selling food wrap, baking paper and tin foil over the next few weeks. This is the major fundraiser for the Central Otago Netball Centre so please support this effort.
A reminder that we are playing netball this weekend – Queen’s Birthday – with games from 10am to 3pm at the Molyneux Courts.