Northern Inland have crowned their 2014 GrainCorp Regional State League Champions with Tamworth taking out Division One and Group 14 claiming the Division Two title on Sunday 31 August.
After finishing atop the Division One ladder at the end of the preliminary rounds, Tamworth earned the right to host the Finals day with teams descending on the Tamworth Sports Dome over the weekend.
The Minor Premiers overcame Moree & District in the Major Semi Final, posting a 10-goal victory to claim the first spot in the title decider. Moree & District were given a second chance to feature in the Grand Final when they met Armidale in the Preliminary Final.
After finishing in third place, Armidale defeated Narrabri 59-40 in the sudden-death Minor Semi Final to keep their Grand Final hopes alive.
It was a tight affair in the Preliminary Final with both sides eager to feature in the Grand Final against hosts Tamworth, however Armidale finished strongly to claim their second Finals win, 54-39, to advance to the decider.
After playing modified games during the regular rounds (Rounds 1 & 2, 2x 15 minute halves; Round 3, 2x 10 minute halves due to rain), the athletes were tested with a return to full 4x 15 minute quarter games in the Finals.
However the standard of play wasn’t lost with the teams putting on a great netball display for spectators. While Armidale put pressure on their opposition throughout the 60 minutes, Tamworth showed why they finished Minor Premiers with a slick performance; in the end claiming the 2014 title with a 66-43 victory.
Spectators were treated to a brilliant Division Two Grand Final contest, with Group 14 holding out a spirited Tamworth to a claim a 41-38 victory to take home the trophy.
The two sides had enjoyed a close contest throughout the 2014 season, with all five of their matches (including Finals) decided by four goals or less. After finishing the regular rounds in first and second place, the two met in the Major Semi Final earlier in the day, with Group 14 winning by three goals to earn a direct route to the title decider.
Tamworth went on to meet Narrabri in the Preliminary Final after the third-placed side defeated Moree & District, 43-19, to keep their Finals hopes alive.
Shaking off their narrow Semi Final loss, Tamworth recovered to take a 50-20 victory over Narrabri to set up a rematch with their close rivals. They didn’t disappoint, playing out a tightly fought match and thoroughly entertaining local spectators.
Netball NSW Regional Coordinator – Northern Inland Monique Smith said the standard of contests, particularly the Finals day, was a stand-out for the 2014 season.
“This year we have seen some terrific netball, and Sunday’s Finals matches were a great way to end the season. Congratulations to Tamworth and Group 14, as well as all our other competing teams, for a wonderful 2014 season,” Smith said.
“I’d also like to thank GrainCorp for their continued support of regional netball, as well as the many volunteers including coaches, umpires, scorers and players who make up this fantastic competition. Let’s hope next season is as thrilling as the one we have just had.”
For additional information please contact Monique Smith, Regional Coordinator – Hunter and Northern Inland on (02) 4921 6084 during business hours or [email protected].