Pelorus sent a clear warning message to their Marlborough premier rivals at Stadium 2000 on Tuesday, downing Tokomaru 66-54 with an emphatic display of quality netball.
Toko have been in red hot form of late but had no answer to the improved drive through court and defensive pressure placed on them by a Pelorus side missing one leading player, but regaining another.
Key defender Danelle Moffatt injured her ankle during a rep game the previous weekend, ruling her out of Tuesday’s match, but co-captain Courtney Taufa returned to the fray after a few weeks off, also caused by an ankle injury.
Taufa’s presence lifted the Pelorus attacking end while Kelly West and Oriana Houra worked extra hard in the defensive circle to make up for Moffatt’s absence.
The result was an emphatic win to the “Ladies in Dark Blue”, who led by only two at halftime but produced a match-defining third quarter, winning it 21-9 to claim a 14-goal lead after 45 minutes. Toko were able to reduce the winning margin by two in the final stanza but never did enough to find the slick, quick-scoring game they so often produce.
The main difference was illustrated by the match stats. Pelorus dominated possession, putting up 85 shots to their opponents’ 57, meaning that although the Toko shooters, Haze Tepuia and Gemma Hika shot at their usual high percentage, with Hika landing 14 from 14, Pelorus were able to operate at a slightly lower percentage and still come out well on top.
Their shooting duo of Taufa and Olivia Pinkerton operated smoothly, receiving quality ball from middies Jordan Peipi, Kelsie Fitzpatrick and Jenna Gilbert as they produced arguably the side’s best performance of the season.
The night’s early game featured traditional rivals Harlequins and SMOG.
Quins won every quarter, albeit by smallish margins, slowly and surely squeezing SMOG out of the game to win 48-33. Missing ace shooter Lauren Murray, Harlequins were well served by replacement Cathy Kitto. Georgie Bryce, Bridget Gane and Mikayla Avant were prominent through midcourt, while Taylor Rogers, Jackson McLaren and Liv Hodson stood tall in the defensive circle.
Bonnie Morris, Katie Cunningham and Kate Gaudin were SMOG’s best as the “Ladies in Black” were forced to play catch-up netball from the outset once again. A quick start may be top of their wish list when they step onto court tonight.
Tuesday’s final game saw Marlborough Girls’ College romp away from Awatere 73-37. MGC led by 18 goals at halftime, the game effectively over, with their combinations gelling superbly to convert a wealth of possession, eventually putting up 86 shots to their rivals’ 53.
Isabella Rohloff and Anna Gardiner were both on target, sharing the shooting load, while Ella Donald and Eleri James-Sitters brought pace and purpose to the midcourt. Olivia Robinson and Lily Tueti were the pick of the defenders.
Awatere will be disappointed after their strong showing against Quins last week, but worked hard throughout, never giving up on a night when they were simply outclassed.
MGC coach Raramai Nicklin is happy with how her side is tracking at the moment. “We are definitely improving every week and putting together more of a consistent performance.
“In the first round we would have a good quarter then a couple not so good but we are certainly getting more accurate and scoring off more of our turnovers.”
Nicklin admits that the side’s goals have changed since the season began.
“At the beginning of the season it was about building good connections, the girls learning and enjoying their netball but, with the way they are going, I think there is an expectation that they want to go all the way in this competition.”
Marlborough Girls’ College NZ King Salmon 73 (Isabella Rohloff 26/32, Anna Gardiner 47/54) Awatere 37 (Tracee Lee 3/5, Aimee Jones 30/40, Ashleigh Childs 5/8). Quarter scores (winning team first): 19-8, 15-8, 22-13, 17-8.
Pelorus Edridge Contracting 66 (Olivia Pinkerton 24/32, Courtney Taufa 42/53) Tokomaru Crafar Crouch Picton 54 (Haze Tepuia 40/43, Gemma Hika 14/14). Quarter scores: 14-12, 16-16, 21-9, 15-17.
Harlequins Radich Law 48 (Hayley Marfell 18/28, Cathy Kitto 30/38) SMOG Good Home 33 (Lucy Barrett 17/33, Kate Gaudin 16/22). Quarter scores: 13-7, 11-9, 12-10, 12-7.
Round two standings: Harlequins 6, Tokomaru 3, MGC 6, Pelorus 4, SMOG 0, Awatere 0.