Eastwood Ryde have progressed to the DOOLEYS State League Division Five Grand Final after a controlled win over Bankstown City, 49-41, in the Major Semi Final played at Netball Central on Monday night. Bankstown City will now face Baulkham Hills who defeated CSNA/Sydney University in a heart-stopping one-goal win, 39-38.
Minor Semi Final: Baulkham Hills 39 defeated CSNA/Sydney Uni 38
It was a blistering start by Baulkham Hills, who dominated the early running to race out to a 10-3 lead after ten minutes. While it was frustrating for CSNA/Sydney Uni supporters to watch, they have seen this all before, as the team are notorious for their slow starts and headed to the first break down, 11-4.
It was more of the same in the second quarter, with a well-drilled Baulkham Hills’ outfit extending their lead to 17-7 midway through the quarter. With two minutes remaining in the term, the scoreboard read, 22-11, reflecting Baulkham Hills dominance across all areas of the court. However, one goal turned into two, and then three, with CSNA/Sydney Uni going on a five goal run into half-time to trail by only 6-goals, 22-16.
The third quarter was an epic battle, with CSNA/Sydney Uni continuing their momentum to gradually claw back the lead, and with 5’ 08 left in the quarter the margin was just 3-goals, 29-26. The defensive pressure of Uni saw Baulkham Hills called for holding, an opportunity the students didn’t waste, reducing the lead to just two. They could have reduced this even further but squandered opportunities under the post, with Baulkham Hills’ circle defenders dragging in the scraps and sending the ball briskly down the other end for their goalers to convert; re-establishing a 5-goal lead, 32-27. But there was to be another twist, with CSNA/Sydney Uni claiming quick back to back goals, including a penalty shot from distance after the whistle to make the score 32-29 at the final break.
While the fourth quarter only produced a total of 16 goals, it was a drama-packed 15 minutes which had all supporters glued to every single contest, pass and or shot. CSNA/Sydney Uni got within one goal, 32-31, inside two minutes of the quarter and sadly for them, it’s a margin they could not overhaul on a number of occasions. In the final quarter, both the wing attack and wing defence for Baulkham Hills came up with the big plays when needed, helping their side to a 39-38 victory and booking them a place in next Monday’s Preliminary Final against Bankstown City.
Major Semi Final: Eastwood Ryde 49 defeated Bankstown City 41
It was a much-anticipated match on the Netball Central Show Court, with both meetings between these teams this season proving to be entertaining affairs. The sides could not be separated after 60 minutes in Round 7, the contest finishing in a 38-all, however Eastwood Ryde got the better of Bankstown City in their most recent meeting in Round 16, 56-30.
With a healthy crowd watching on, it was Eastwood Ryde who flew out of the blocks running out to an early 5-1 lead, and while Bankstown tried their best to stem this momentum, it was the unbeaten Eastwood who went to the first break leading 13-7.
Some words of wisdom from the Bankstown coaching bench during the break worked, with City matching their fancied opponents in all areas of the court, except the scoreboard. Both sides showed great intensity in attack and defence, with Eastwood’s shooters edging their opponents for accuracy to give their team a 27-16 half-time lead.
It was “as you were” in the third quarter, with both teams going goal for goal until the final minute of the term, when City went on a mini run of three goals to draw within 7-goals at the final change, 39-32. This upward trend continued in the fourth, with City further reducing the deficit to four goals, 40-36, inside 3’ 30. But Eastwood Ryde regathered their composure and found another gear, reassuming a 10-goal lead, 47-37, with four minutes remaining.
Eastwood Ryde went through the regular season undefeated, and it’s a record they maintained this evening, running out eventual victors 49-41 and in doing so advancing straight to the DOOLEYS State League Division 5 Grand Final. The gallant Bankstown City side have another chance when they face Baulkham Hills in the Preliminary Final next Monday night.