Hills District triumphant in thrilling Div 8 decider

Hills District (HDNA) has claimed the 2015 DOOLEYS State League Division 8 Champions title after overcoming a spirited Hawkesbury City, 43-39, tonight, Tuesday 21 July, at Netball Central.

It was Finals netball at it’s very best, with the lead exchanging hands throughout the 60 minutes. It would be anyone’s guess who would be crowned Champions up until the final minutes of the match, with both sides putting up a strong contest in front of a vocal crowd.

Head Coach Rhonda White said she was not only pleased with HDNA’s efforts tonight, but for turning around a slow start to their 2015 season.

“Halfway through the season I would have been happy if we finished sixth, but to the girls credit they worked hard during the second half of the season, they followed the game plan, and you couldn’t find a happier coach [than me right now],” White claimed.

Nothing could separate the two sides as the set into a pattern of trading goals; HCNA gaining the advantage with a vital deflection on their opposition’s attacking transverse line to hit the front.  By changing up their speed of play, HCNA were able to slowly but surely edge out their advantage – the contest between their shooters and HDNA circle defenders an early highlight.

But it was the efforts of HCNA’s midcourters that really resulted in the side gaining the lead as they worked hard to put on strong pressure, whilst transitioning quickly into attack. The efforts saw HCNA push out to four goals, but HDNA wouldn’t be disheartened.

Working hard to stay in the contest, HDNA were able to get to within one goal of HCNA at the first break with 20 seconds on the clock; a vital combined turnover effort from their Goal Keeper and Wing Defence preventing a late HCNA attempt at the post.

Enjoying a swing in momentum HDNA carried their confidence into the second quarter, taking the lead within the first two minutes after posting the first three unanswered goals. But their advantage would be short-lived as HDNA rallied – much in thanks to some strong defensive rebounding which was converted by their shooters – to take back the lead with 10 minutes until half-time.

Again the match settled into a see-sawing battle of trading goals – every attempt needed to be on-song as both sides’ tried to gain the upper hand. This pattern continued for the remainder of the first half, with HCNA holding onto their slim one-goal lead at the big break.

After their opposition’s strong start to the previous quarter, HCNA came bursting out of the starting blocks for the second half by putting up three consecutive goals to once again extend their advantage.

There was plenty in the contest with athletes from both sides refusing to take a backward step, willing to gain possession for their shooters to capitalise. As they had shown earlier, HDNA fought hard and by halfway through the third quarter had clawed back the deficit to just one goal.

With six minutes on the clock HDNA again took the lead from their opposition; their diminutive Goal Shooter providing a strong target in the circle thanks to her quick baseline movement and long-range accuracy.

HDNA were able to get out to as much as three goals, but HCNA countered back with a vital intercept to HDNA Goal Defence to prevent scores from being tied at the final break; HDNA taking the lead at three-quarter time.

Taking their lead out to two in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, HDNA marked their intent on the final 15 minutes… only HCNA were just as determined to finish on top.  It set up a titillating contest for spectators at Netball Central with neither side taking a backward step.

Fitness would prove a key component with the physicality and speed to which the match had been played began to take its toll; both sides putting on a terrific contest until the final whistle.  As HCNA went up, HDNA would chase them down… HDNA went up, HCNA chased them down. This continued with spectators unsure who would claim the title.

It wasn’t until the final minute and HDNA were three goals clear did it look likely there would be a winner after 60 minutes of tough, hard-fought netball. But a goal in the dying seconds cemented HDNA as the 2015 Champions.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
HCNA│ Q1: 12 – Q2: 22 (10) – Q3: 31 (9) – Q4: 39 (8)
HDNA│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 21 (10) – Q3: 32 (11) – Q4: 43 (11)

Shooting Statistics
HCNA: 39/53 @ 74%
R. Bouzaid: 32/37 @ 86%
K. Place: 7/16 @ 44%

HDNA: 43/58 @ 74%
C. Chivers: 26/36 @ 72%
A. Foster: 17/22 @ 77%

2015 DOOLEYS State League – Division 8 Results
Tues 7 July 7:00pm Major Semi Final Hawkesbury City 34 d Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers 32
Minor Semi Final Hills District 48 d Central Coast 40
Tues 14 July 7:00pm Preliminary Final Hills District 55 d Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers 54
Tues 21 July 7:00pm Grand Final Hills District 43 d Hawkesbury City 39