Hunter United have been crowned the 2016 DOOLEYS Metro League Division 2 champions after a 50-39 win over Illawarra District at Netball Central on Thursday 8 September.
Strong second and third quarters, and fine shooting, formed the backbone of the victory for United, who eventually managed to break down a committed and talented Illawarra side, pushing away in the final period for a big win.
The first quarter was a nice, free-flowing affair as the sides traded goals with Illawarra starting slightly better to lead 7-5 halfway through the period.
Hunter United were back on level terms before long but failed to take their chances – and the lead – soon after, allowing Illawarra regain their two-goal advantage. Hunter would have had the chance draw level at the end of the quarter but for a fine deflection by Illawarra goal keeper Annabel Bretag which ensured her side had a 12-11 lead at the first break.
However, United came racing out of the blocks at the start of the second quarter, rattling off four goals in succession while intercepting the ball at vital times in the defensive circle.
Despite the contest swinging in United’s favour, Illawarra weren’t rocked and kept pace with their opponents, just 20-17 down five minutes out from halftime. With one minute to go to the big break Illawarra were within one goal before some nice slick passing from Hunter allowed goal shooter Sabina Gomboso put two between the teams.
Players such as Sophie Buckley (C) and Mikenzie Mcmanus (GK) started to take command of the contest early in the third quarter as Hunter United took their lead out to four goals, but Hannah Binks (GS) was keeping Illawarra in touch.
The game started to get a little scrappy as the stakes got higher closing in on the last break, but it was Hunter United who were making the most of the chances that came their way. Leading 34-29 a minute from three-quarter time, they held their nerve to maintain a five-goal advantage which in the context of the game was a big one.
With 10 minutes to go the lead was eight and Illawarra had a mountain to climb. They putting everything into the contest but Hunter United’s attack was able to find gaps in a defence that was being pushed to the max.
Just five minutes from the end the lead was 12 and from that moment there was no coming back and the title was Hunter bound.
Hunter United | Q1: 11 – Q2: 23 (12) – Q3: 35 (12) – Q4: 50 (15)
Illawarra District | Q1: 12 – Q2: 21 (9) – Q3: 30 (9) – Q4: 39 (9)
Hunter United: 50/54 @ 93%
Illawarra District: 39/57 @ 68%
Hunter United: GS Sabina Gomboso, GA Emma A Prince, WA Abbie Johnson, C Sophie Buckley, WD Karlie Robards, GD Kimberley Williams, GK Mikenzie Mcmanus
Illawarra District: GS Hannah Binks, GA Jessica McGrath, WA Sarah Bowen, C Siobhan O’Brien, WD Sophie Robertson, GD Emily Osborne, GK Annabel Bretag