Eastwood Ryde booked their place in the 2014 DOOLEYS State League Division 2 Grand Final following victory over Ku-ring-gai in Tuesday night’s Semi Finals at the Anne Clark Centre. Ku-ring-gai will now face Sutherland Shire in the Preliminary Final next Tuesday after they defeated Bankstown City in the Minor Semi Final.
Minor Semi Final: Sutherland Shire 47 def Bankstown City 40
After a tentative start by both sides in this elimination Semi Final, it was Sutherland Shire who settled first, running out to a 5-1 lead after 6 minutes. But Bankstown City rallied, pulling within one goal on two occasions before Sutherland lifted again to head to the first break up by 3-goals, 11-8.
Sutherland came out blazing in the second quarter, extending their lead to 6-goals, 19-13, with 5 minutes left in the quarter before Bankstown called an injury time-out. The break did nothing to halt Sutherland’s charge, who at one point got out to a 10-goal lead, before settling for a 25-13 half time advantage.
Two personnel changes at half time to Bankstown’s midcourt had an immediate impact, with City lifting across the entire court, forcing their opponents into errors and in turn reducing the margin to 7-goals. However, it seems this push took a lot of them, because Sutherland found their rhythm across the court, with their goal keeper coming up with some big moments, plus their goal shooter capitalising with every opportunity; at one stage having a commanding 17-goal lead. In the end the margin at the final break was 15-goals, 39-24.
Bankstown City showed all season they were a tenacious side, and they demonstrated this in the final quarter with a renewed energy and intensity to claw back the margin to just 6-goals, 45-39, with 1’ 20 left in the game. Unfortunately for City they left their run too late, and Sutherland Shire are the team who progressed through to the Preliminary Final with a 47-40 victory.
Major Semi Final: Eastwood Ryde 51 def Ku-ring-gai 39
There was nothing between the both teams in the opening stages of the game as both went goal for goal, in fact the score was 5-4 in favour of Eastwood Ryde after 7 minutes. But it was at this point the Minor Premiers stamped their authority on the opening term with a great display of high press and full court defence, scoring five unanswered goal to lead 10-4. Ku-ring-gai stayed in touch with a minor run of goals towards the end of the term to trail 13-9 at the first break.
Eastwood jumped out of the blocks at the start of the second quarter, scoring four goals straight, before the Ku-ring-gai goal keeper called an injury time out, unfortunately having to be subbed out of the game. The break didn’t slow the momentum of Eastwood, who extended their lead to 11-goals at half time, 28-17, with all players having a positive impact on proceedings, but credit must be paid to the stunning circle work of the two shooters.
Ku-ring-gai made a further two changes at the main break, but try as they might, the Eastwood Ryde juggernaut continued to dictate proceedings, inspired by their defensive pairing who made a number of silky intercepts. For most of the quarter, Eastwood held a 10 to 12 goal lead, even extending this to 14 late in the quarter, however both teams went to the bench with the score showing 41-27 at the final change.
Eastwood Ryde went through the regular season undefeated, and even after making a number of changes for the final quarter, they didn’t seem to miss a beat, running out victors 51-39 and in doing so advancing straight to the DOOLEYS State League Division 2 Grand Final. The gallant Ku-ring-gai side have another chance when they face Sutherland Shire in the Preliminary Final next Tuesday night.