Pelorus underlined their on-going ambitions when they wrapped up second round honours in Marlborough premier netball at Stadium 2000 on Tuesday.
They have been building a team capable of claiming a first-ever premiership for the country club and will start the third round as favourites to do just that.
On Tuesday, Pelorus and MGC came to the courts locked on 10 competition points, both sides requiring victories to remain in contention. They duly delivered, Pelorus downing Awatere 67-42 while the students took care of SMOG 59-42, however Pelorus take the title on a goal differential countback, enjoying a +83 differential while MGC ended with +65.
At the other end of the table, SMOG’s run of losses continued, meaning they will now play a promotion/relegation match against the grade one winners at Stadium 2000 on July 21.
In the evening’s first match, Harlequins sealed third spot on the table, just one adrift of the front-runners, accounting for Tokomaru 63-53.
Quins had a dominant final quarter to thank for their victory, after leading by just a single goal at three quarter time.
The input of former MGC shooter Malia Manoa could not be underestimated. Apart from shooting 40 goals from 45 attempts she worked well in the circle with regular Hayley Marfell, dropping in 14 from 14 in the final stanza.
Georgie Bryce at wing attack added energy and drive in the final 15 minutes, Jackson McLaren and Hayley Lammas worked hard in defense throughout while Bridget Gane directed traffic astutely in mid court.
Again, Haze Tepuia turned on a near perfect shooting performance for Toko, landing 31 from 32 attempts. The Wilson twins, Kayla and Hana, combined superbly to bring the ball through court while Michaela Boaz and the Lawrence sisters, Naia and Savannah, snapped up any loose ball on defense.
Awatere, buoyed by their first win last week, took the game to Pelorus in the first quarter. Although Pelorus won it 14-10 the “Tussocks” showed their intent and renewed confidence.
However Pelorus were too consistent through court over the full 60 minutes, especially with former Quins shooter Paige Lovell in the goal shoot’s bib. Lovell dominated the circle, offering a reliable target for her eager feeders and handled the bulk of the shooting duties, with regular Courtney Taufa moving back into the goal keep’s role.
She paired well with the athletic Oriana Houra in the defensive circle, regularly denying clean ball to the Awatere shooters.
The versatile Laura Murphy also had a short stint in the shooting circle, adding to the team’s growing depth.
Pelorus play/coach Courtney Taufa said she was “stoked for the Pelorus club and also for the team”.
“We have trained hard and I think we are in a good place … we are a very versatile team.
“The arrival of Paige has given us more options … and Laura [Murphy] adds guidance and leadership to the mix. We also have four players who have won previous championships in Paige, Jenna [Gilbert], myself and Laura so there is plenty of experience.”
Awatere’s Aimee Jones and Tracee Lee did their best with the possession that came their way, but frequent turnovers slowed their flow of ball and denied them a chance to establish a rapid scoring rhythm.
Defenders Harriet and Courtney Ryan continued their improvement at this level.
MGC have been a much more consistent unit this round and underlined their growing maturity with a bold effort against SMOG.
The match was evenly poised at three quarter time, the students leading by just four, however they put their foot on the gas to reel off a 19-6 final quarter and quickly put the game out of reach.
Shooters Isabella Rohloff and Taila Town were in an accurate mood, both landing high percentages, Olivia Robinson and Mya Wiapo preyed on any defensive opportunities while Ella Donald and Neve Godsiff provided thrust and direction in mid court.
Katie Cunningham and Bonnie Morris defended well for SMOG who lost regular shooter Kate Gaudin early with a leg injury. Coach Janine Jordaan entered the fray in the first quarter and showed she still has the skills, working well with Lucy Barrett despite limited possession. Katie Bradley turned in another whole-hearted effort in mid court.
Premier netball resumes on July 23.
Harlequins Radich Law 63 (Hayley Marfell 23/31, Malia Manoa 40/45) Tokomaru Crafar Crouch Picton 53 (Haze Tepuia 31/32, Gemma Hika 22/31). Quarter scores (winning team first): 18-14, 10-16, 16-13, 19-10.
Pelorus Edridge Contracting 67 (Olivia Pinkerton 11/13, Paige Lovell 51/64, Laura Murphy 5/6) Awatere 42 (Tracee Lee 13/20, Aimee Jones 28/43, Courtney Ryan 1/2). Quarter scores: 14-10, 18-11, 14-10, 21-11.
Marlborough Girls’ College NZ King Salmon 59 (Isabella Rohloff 26/32, Taila Town 33/39) SMOG Good Home 42 (Lucy Barrett 11/16, Kate Gaudin 2/2, Janine Jordaan 29/41) Quarter scores: 17-9, 9-14, 14-13, 19-6.
Round two final standings: Pelorus 13, MGC 13, Harlequins 12, Tokomaru 6, Awatere 3, SMOG 1.