Newcastle have progressed to the DOOLEYS State League Division Six Grand Final after a dominant win over their regional rivals, Kurri Kurri/Hunter, 64-41 in the Major Semi Final played on the Netball Central Show Court on Monday night. Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers will now face Blacktown City who defeated Campbelltown in Extra-Time, 60-56, after their match ended 48-all after regular time.
Minor Semi Final: Blacktown City 60 defeated Campbelltown 56 (Extra-time)
Blacktown City made their intensions known early, racing out to a 3-goal lead, 5-2, inside the opening 3 minutes of the do-or-die Minor Semi Final. It was a margin they would hold until midway through the quarter, before Campbelltown found their rhythm and started to string together some nice passages of play of their own, drawing level in the 9th minute mark of the term. Both sides went goal for goal until Blacktown gained precious possession, stringing together three unanswered goals to lead 16-13 at quarter-time.
Blacktown continued their momentum in the second quarter, pulling out to a 6-goal lead after four minutes. Campbelltown’s centre called time-out to received treatment to her calf and it gave District time to regroup, coming up with some lovely interplay between their shooters to reduce the margin to 3-goals at midway mark. But as they did in the first quarter, Blacktown came home with a wet sail on the back of great full court defense and precise shooting to lead 32-23 at the main break.
In a thoroughly entertaining quarter, with desperation netball played both team teams, it was Blacktown City who were able to repel the rejuvenated Campbelltown, to go to the bench up, 40-34, for what they thought would be the final break of the game.
Blacktown were up by as much as 7-goals in the final term but lost their way, as Campbelltown – cheered on by their vocal supporters – reduced the margin to just two goals, 44-42, with seven minutes left on the clock. Both goal keepers came up with crucial intercepts, but in a blink of an eye it was Campbelltown who levelled the scores 45-all with 5:45 remaining. Blacktown claimed back to back goals inside 60 seconds with 1:35 to go, but Campbelltown’s impressive goal shooter held her nerve to level the scores 48-all to send the game into Extra-Time.
Bankstown City opened the first period of extra-time with a near faultless three minutes, putting on four unanswered goals and it’s a lead they never looked like losing, claiming their first victory over Campbelltown this season, 60-54, to progress to the Preliminary final.
Major Semi Final: Newcastle 64 defeated Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers 41
It was always going to be a difficult assignment for Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers against an undefeated Newcastle outfit, and the signs looked ominous in the opening minutes as the latter jumped out to a 5-1 lead inside five minutes. However, Kurri Kurri/Hunter didn’t give up and forced their opponents into errors, providing them with plenty of ball; unfortunately they weren’t able to convert their possession into goals and trailed 11-6 at quarter-time.
As they have shown all season, this Newcastle team has the ability to score goals quickly, and that’s exactly what they did at the start of the second quarter; stretching their advantage to 9-goals,16-7, after five minutes of play. As the quarter progressed, Newcastle’s asserted their dominance on proceedings and controlled the tempo of the game, piling on the goals to lead 29-14 at half time.
Kurri Kurri/Hunter entered the game with only eight players on the team sheet, which meant they were restricted in what tactical changes could be made throughout the match. Putting this aside, they gallantly fought on and only lost the third quarter by 2-goals, 15-13.
In what looked to be a mixture of a well-drilled Newcastle team and a tiring Kurri side, the lead extended at regular interval in the final 15 minutes before the final blew with Newcastle winning 64-41 and in doing so, booking their place in the Grand Final on Monday-week.