Top Year 7/8 teams continue to impress

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It was almost a call for an appeal against the light on Saturday in Alexandra. The sun was conspicuous by its absence again, making for a particularly cold netball day.
However, once into a game a netballer quickly warms up and the cold certainly didn’t affect the calibre of play. It was the devoted spectators who felt the effects of the weather.
The three top teams in the Year 7/8 grade, Teviot Wonderwomen, Terrace Green and Alexandra Kaka, carried on their winning way, all notching big scores against their opposition.
Terrace White will have been pleased to get back into winning mode when it beat Cromwell College Jnr A. It was impressive shooting from Mackenzie Ealson from Terrace White, who only this year decided to play netball. We talk about a ‘‘sports brain’’, and Mackenzie is a good example of this. She has played hockey — and continues to play hockey — and she is able to slot into the different game seamlessly.
With one game remaining in the senior grades, three of the top-four spots are pretty much decided but who will be the fourth team will make for interesting games this weekend. All grades will split into top four/bottom four, followed by a finals round.
SENIOR COMPETITION
In A Grade, Alexandra A needs to win its game against Ex-girls for those teams to be on equal points. Ex-Girls combined well on Saturday to have a good win against Dunstan B 42-24, while Alexandra put up a good fight against Monteiths Molyneux, but were still outclassed 40-20.
The hard game for Alexandra A will have been good preparation for this week’s game. Kristie Andrew was, once again, strong in defence in a team that seemed to have a number of new players. Nicole Barnes remains reliable under the basket receiving strong passes from Sharne Paranihi confidently. Ex-Girls are a very balanced, experienced team who will come out determined to take the win. This will certainly be a game to watch at 2.20pm on Saturday.
Maniototo Women and Alexandra Green are assured of Top 4 status in B grade but the next two spots are wide open, between Dunstan 10A, Dunstan Senior Reserve, Cromwell Social and Roxburgh Blue. Only two points separates these teams, so a win is needed!
Cromwell Vic Arms and Dunstan 10 B are the safe teams in C Grade. Cromwell College B and Cromwell College Int A are on equal points and meet each other, while Molyneux White is lurking in the wings, two points behind.
Dunstan 9B and Roxburgh White are unbeaten in D Grade, but once again any of the three next-placed teams could make up the Top 4. Cromwell College Social is the next-placed team and is looking safe. However, the result of the match up between Ex-Girls Social and Cromwell College Int B will decide who takes the fourth spot.
UMPIRING
I had the pleasure of having my first mentoring session with Aja, my Umpiring Academy protege. Aja spent last weekend in Melbourne, having been invited to attend a judo training camp, and this weekend she is back learning to umpire — and she’s only 12!! This week, she is off to Dunedin as a member of her school team at the finals of the Rippa Rugby Tournament. It is wonderful to see youngsters taking advantage of the opportunities offered to them.
The Academy umpires will be wearing their distinctive pink shirts from this weekend. Central Otago is going to be spoilt for umpires in the next few years if these young girls continue to offer themselves as umpires and go further through the ranks.
REPRESENTATIVE HONOURS
Representative teams have been announced for the season.
All teams will play tournaments in Invercargill (July 31), Alexandra (August
21) and Dunedin (August 21). The teams are. —
Under 15: Catherine Morris, Keeli Cormack, Suzie Morrow, Erin Bennie, Grace Ellis, Maisie Bond, Bethan Spooner, Shannon Boyd (Dunstan); Alannah Ward (Cromwell College); Caitlyn Johnston (Rox Area School). Coach: Jonelle Fulton.
Under 14: Tegan Chapman, Breana Smith, Hannah McCulloch, Aria Monaghan, Isabella Herbert, Kate Hanning, Beth McLeod, Kelsey Clark (Cromwell College), Shanae Forbes, McKenzie Prew (Roxburgh Area). Coach: Megan Longman.
Year 8: Annie Hansen, Annalee Black, Ella Perkins, Annabelle Toms (Teviot Wonderwomen); Brooke Williams (Alexandra Kaka); Lia Chapman, Aja Tate-Bell, Jen Willcocks (The Terrace); Alyse Panui (Clyde Alleycats); Jayde Wilson (Cromwell College Jnr A). Coach: Megan Anderson.
Year 7: Hannah Bisset, Trieste Kerr (Cromwell College); Ada Bond, Mekah O’Neil (Alexandra); Lola Dundass, Sarah Gunn, Shani Whitu (Teviot); Isla Melton, Jessie Moffitt, Neve Spooner (The Terrace). Coach: Elaisa Chapman.
I hope many of our young players got to watch the Southern Steel draw its game against the Swifts on Saturday night. What an awesome exhibition of perseverance. The Steel is now through to the New Zealand Conference finals of the ANZ Cup to be played in Invercargill next Sunday. That game will be against the winner of the Magic-Mystics clash this weekend.
We’ll be hoping for a win on that day to take our girls through to the next phase, coming up against the loser of the Australian Conference final.
This year is the last of the present format, so wouldn’t it be great if the Southern Steel could go through unbeaten. We’ll follow it over the coming weeks.
Tickets for Mrs Brownz Boys on July 30 are available one Central Otago Netball Centre website www.sporty.co.nz/centralotagonetball/home