West/Central West juggernaut Orange held off Dubbo to claim their 19th consecutive Champions title, taking out the 2014 GrainCorp Regional State League – West/Central West Division 1 competition over the weekend.
Dubbo pushed the defending Champions to the very last minutes of the decider, playing out a thrilling finals match in front of spectators at Orange PCYC on Sunday 31 August; Orange eventual winners by nine goals, 56-47.
Orange claimed a direct route to the Grand Final after overcoming a slow start in the Major Semi Final earlier in the day, overtaking Dubbo to win, 54-37. Dubbo went on to meet Bathurst – who had defeated Orange 2 in a tight Minor Semi Final, 30-37 – in the Preliminary Final, aiming to keep their Finals hopes alive.
Bathurst put out a great contest in the Preliminary Final, however Dubbo were hungry and led at every break, claiming a 50-41 victory and a rematch against Orange to decide the 2014 Champions.
The two sides also met in their very first match of the season, with Dubbo showing how much hard work they’d done during the off-season with a 28-27 victory over the defending Champions. While Orange held bragging rights in the most recent contests, Dubbo came out firing in the opening minutes of the decider with five unanswered goals in the first two minutes to put their opponents on the back foot.
It set up an exciting Grand Final contest, with Orange finding their composure to fight back to within touch; Dubbo led 15-13 at the first break. Momentum remained with the Minor Premiers, with Orange taking the lead in the second quarter. However Dubbo would not be discouraged as the two sides traded goals with some slick play. Orange were able to hold out to lead by one goal at half-time.
Spectators were treated to a classic Finals game; Dubbo’s shooting end was a stand-out, offering movement and options for the feeders while making the Orange defenders work overtime.
With Orange leading by four goals at three quarter time, it was anyone’s game. Dubbo threw everything at the contest however couldn’t catch the defending Champions, who found their rhythm to claim their 19th consecutive West/Central West title with the nine-goal victory.
Netball NSW Regional Coordinator – West/Central West Mardi Aplin said the weekend provided netball fans with plenty of exciting contests.
“Orange has been a dominant player in our netball community for a number of years, but this season we really saw teams step it up and push them; particularly Dubbo. They trained hard, improving their fitness by employing a Strength & Conditioning Coach, and it definitely showed this year,” Aplin said.
“It was not only Dubbo, but all the teams really put out some classy displays this season. It’s great for the region to see players rise to the challenge, and also for the fans who come out and watch some exciting games.
“This season we also introduced a 17/U competition for Division 2, and it was great to see some fantastic young athletes in action. Hopefully they can continue to develop, seeing them take the step up to Division 1, in the coming years, and help build that senior base at their Associations,” Aplin concluded.
Bathurst took out the inaugural 17/U Division 2 title this year, after defeating Orange Black, 37-25, in the Grand Final.
With the Semi Final winners advancing on, teams only had one chance to feature in the title decider.
After finishing Minor Premiers, Bathurst showed their intent early in the Semi Finals with a comfortable 43-13 win over Cowra who finished in fourth place to reach the decider. It was Mate v Mate when Orange Black overcame Orange White, 31-28, in a tight second Semi Final which was locked at 21-goals apiece at three-quarter time.
In the Grand Final it was Bathurst who hit the ground running, opening out to a 10-5 lead at the first break. However spurred on by their home support, Orange Black pulled back to within two goals at the main break. Some entertaining netball followed however Bathurst hit their strides, playing to their strengths and showing maturity to claim the 2014 title.
Upon taking out the Division 1 title, Orange will now be invited to take part in the 2014 GrainCorp Inter-Regional State League competition, with the chance to reclaim the title they won in the inaugural tournament in 2013.
Supported by GrainCorp as Major Naming Rights Partner, the Inter-Regional State League will pit the Division 1 winners from each region of Netball NSW (excluding Sydney Metropolitan) against each other to decide the 2014 GrainCorp Inter-Regional State League Champion. The competition will be played at the Anne Clark Centre from Saturday 27 to Sunday 28 September.
For more information please contact Netball NSW Regional Development Manager Nicole Bowles on (02) 9951 5000 during business hours or [email protected].