Inter-regional State League – day 2 coverage

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The final day of the inaugural Netball NSW GrainCorp Inter-Regional competition commenced at 9am on Sunday at the Anne Clark Centre.

Illawarra has booked its spot in the inaugural GrainCorp Inter-Regional State League Grand Final after defeating Lismore 58-36 in the Preliminary Final.  The young Illawarra side will take on West/Central West representatives Orange in the title decider.

The South Coast Champions opened up a healthy lead at the first break, with their full court defensive pressure putting Lismore under the pump from the very first whistle.  After creating the turnover, some sharp feeding from the Illawarra midcourters saw their shooters capitalise.

Lismore weren’t to be discouraged though, working the ball patiently while their tall GS/GK had an influence at both ends of the court.  The Far North Coast Champions worked hard to pull back the deficit – winning the third quarter 10 goals to nine – however Illawarra’s damaging opening 15 minutes set them up for victory.

Using their bench throughout the 60 minutes to prepare for the title decider, Illawarra didn’t take their foot off the pedal as they finished 22 goal victors to book a rematch against Orange to decide the very first Inter-Regional State Champion.

Preliminary Final Results
Illawarra 58 def Lismore 36
Illawarra – Q1: 20 – Q2: 34 (14) – Q3: 43 (9) – Q4: 58 (15)
Lismore – Q1: 9 – Q2: 17 (8) – Q3: 27 (10) – Q4: 36 (9)

Earlier results from today…

First on Court C was 4 v 5 in an Eliminator featuring Lismore v Glen Innes and on Court A, it was Illawarra A’s (2) taking on Coffs Harbour (3) in a Qualifier to see who would contest Orange in Semi Final 1.

In an entertaining Qualifier between Northern Inland and Far North Coast regional champions, it was Lismore who prevailed 57-44.

A youthful Glen Innes side took it to their more experienced counterparts, leading 12-8 at the first break. However, Lismore regrouped in the second quarter posting four straight goals to level the scores and then went onto notch a further 15 goals in the term to lead by 6 at the halftime, 27-21.

Glen Innes, cheered on by a small but passionate group of family and friends who had made the long trip to Sydney continued to work hard, and after being down by 7 goals early in the third term, clawed their way back to within 3 goals of the lead midway through the period. Lismore lifted again and used their height advantage in the shooting circle to regain their command on the game, taking a 6 goal lead into the final quarter, 39-33.

The Far North Coast Champions Lismore continue to extend their lead during the fourth quarter to win by a margin of 13 goals.

Eliminator result
Lismore def Glen Innes, 57-44
Lismore – Q1: 8 – Q2: 27 (19) – Q3: 39 (12) – Q4: 57 (18)
Glen Innes – Q1: 12 – Q2: 21 (9) – Q3: 33 (12) – Q4: 44 (11)

On Court A, Illawarra 15’s continued their form of Day 1, defeating Coffs Harbour by 16 goals, 61-45.

The final scoreline did not reflect the competitive nature of the game, with both teams displaying impeccable shooting in the goal circle.

Throughout the opening stages of the first term, the teams went goal for goal with the scoreboard showing 4-all after 5 minutes. However, Illawarra strung together a run of four goals straight within the space of 2 minutes to open up the lead and it’s a margin they expended upon throughout the quarter to lead by 9 at the first break, 17-8.

The second quarter was a tight affair with Illawarra’s midcourt giving them their edge to claim the quarter 16-12 and delivering a 13 goal lead at halftime, 33-20.

Coffs Harbour set themselves a target at the main break of winning the next quarter, and through an almighty display across all three areas of the court, it’s a goal they achieved winning the term 13-12, to narrow the deficit to 45-33 at three-quarter time.

But as they had done throughout Day 1, a well drilled Illawarra outfit where up to the task in the final term and claimed the spoils in a 61-45 victory. This win means Illawarra finished 2nd and will meet Orange A’s in Semi Final 1.

Qualifier result
Illawarra def Coffs Harbour, 61-45
Illawarra – Q1: 17 – Q2: 33 (16) – Q3: 45 (12) – Q4: 61 (16)
Glen Innes – Q1: 8 – Q2: 20 (12) – Q3: 33 (13) – Q4: 45 (12)

Semi Final 1
Semi Final 1 was between Orange A (1) and Illawarra 15’s (2) on Court A, with the young South Coast champions looking for an improved performance on their 22 goal defeat of Round 3 on Day 1.

This intent was evident from the first centre pass, with Illawarra taking on Orange at their own game, with fast and precise ball movement across the court and their shooters continuing their great weekend form. There wasn’t much between the sides during the first half of the opening quarter, however Orange were able to capitalise on some untimely turnovers by Illawarra to claim a 4 goal lead at the first break, 11-7.

Orange, who claimed the West/Central West regional title earlier this year, showed their experience under the pressure of a Semi Final and worked smartly to extend their lead to ten goals during the second quarter, outscoring Illawarra 14-8 in the term, claiming a 25-15 half time lead.

It was a similar story during the third quarter, with Orange again outscoring their younger, yet impressive opponent, 15-8, to extend their lead to 16 goals at the final break, 39-23.

But this Illawarra side is full of future netball stars who want to leave a real impression on this year’s tournament. From the first whistle of the final term, the South Court outfit attacked every play, ran down every loose ball and made every shooting opportunity count.

As the quarter went on, Illawarra pegged back the score a goal at a time, reducing the margin to 9 with 9 minutes left on the clock. From this point on, it was a battle royal and an encounter Orange knew they had to withstand to claim an automatic berth in the Grand Final. Illawarra continued to work hard, getting to within 9 goals of the lead on a further four occasions, but the experience of Orange saw them hold out for a ten goal win, 51-41.

Semi Final 1 (1 v 2)
Orange A def Illawarra 15’s, 51-41
Orange – Q1: 11  – Q2: 25 (14) – Q3: 39 (15) – Q4: 51 (12)
Illawarra – Q1: 7 – Q2: 15 (8) – Q3: 23 (8) – Q4: 41 (18)

Semi Final 2
In Semi Final 2, Coffs Harbour (3) took on Lismore (4) in what was arguably the game of the Finals Series to date.

Having played out a thrilling encounter on Day 1 where Coffs Harbour claimed a 2 goal victory, 41-39, both sides knew they had to bring their A-game if they wanted to claim a spot in the Preliminary Final.

From the opening whistle, the pace was frenetic with these evenly matched sides going goal for goal, and it was Coffs Harbour who claimed a slim one goal lead at the first break, 13-12.

Lismore’s versatile goal keeper, who had played at shooter in their earlier match against Glen Innes, stamped her authority in Coffs Harbour’s shooting circle claiming some key rebounds and intercepts. While Coffs were unable to convert their chances, the experienced Lismore shooters combined well and seized each opportunity during the quarter to take a four goal lead into he main break, 25-21.

The third quarter is often referred to as the Championship quarter and this period of netball was one of the best of the tournament. It looked like Lismore were going to comfortably claim the match, leading by 6 goals with 6 minutes to go. However, Coffs Harbour dug deep and started to peg back Lismore’s lead a goal at a time.

As the screams of the respective benches and spectators grew louder, the attention of those within the Anne Clark Centre focused onto Court C and with 60 seconds left in the game, Coffs Harbour levelled the scores 42 goals apiece.

Lismore calmly claimed the next centre pass to regain the one goal margin with 30 seconds left on the clock. Coffs Harbour nearly sent the game into extra time with only seconds remaining but were unable to convert their final shot on goal and it was Lismore who progressed to the meet Illawarra 15’s in the Preliminary Final.

A special congratulations must go to both Coffs Harbour and Lismore who entertained everyone with two enthralling battles over the weekend, and who demonstrated wonderful respect for their opponent during each contest.

Semi Final 2 (3 v 4)
Coffs Harbour def Lismore, 43-42
Lismore– Q1: 12  – Q2: 25 (13) – Q3: 33 (8) – Q4: 43 (10)
Coffs Harbour – Q1: 13 – Q2: 21 (8) – Q3: 33 (12) – Q4: 42 (9)