BURKE’S BLITZ Blighty claims back-to-back flags over rival Rovers
A 10 goal final quarter from Blighty playing coach Nicky Burke earned her side back-to-back Picola League premierships in C reserve, in another one-goal thriller between the Redeyes and the Deni Rovers.
For the third year in a row the rivals found themselves in a similar situation, with scores level late in the final quarter at Blighty Recreation Reserve.
The Redeyes moved the ball forward and with 20 seconds remaining Burke kept a cool head to put her side in front.
The playing coach said the final stages of the game were nerve racking.
‘‘I didn’t know how long was left but my body was telling me it was late in the game,’’ she said.
‘‘Rovers had the centre pass but we turned the ball over to win it.
‘‘When the final whistle was blown it was just a big sense of relief.
‘‘It feels so good to win a flag on our home court. We had a pretty big home crowd there.’’
Blighty defender Lou Hanmer was awarded the best on court honours. Final score, Blighty 29 to Deni Rovers 28. The Roos were hungry early, earning themselves a four goal lead heading into the first break.
Deni continued the trend over the next two quarters, leading 17 to 11 at half-time, before holding a five goal buffer at the final change, 23 to 18.
The Redeyes turned things around in the last, smashing their way in front with an 11 goal to five final quarter to pinch the victory.
Deniliquin Rovers netball coordinator Tenille Blake praised the players despite the loss.
‘‘In the last three years in C reserve it’s been a goal the difference (each time),’’ she said.
‘‘We were up all game but in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter we missed valuable goals and Blighty just found another gear.
‘‘Jemma Keast was again so strong in defence along with Jackie Schramm.
‘‘Sara Savellis certainly saved her best game for the grand final and was dominant in the goals.’’
With rumours swirling this could be Burke’s final game, the Pastoral Times caught up with the club veteran yesterday. ‘‘I’m not sure about it yet,’’ she said. ‘‘I said I was going to retire after last year but we can see how that went.
‘‘I’m already getting called the John Farnham of Blighty netball by some of the girls, so I’ll play it safe and not say whether or not I’m finished.’’
Blighty C reserve premiers (back, from left) Hollie Newton, Alex Barry, Nat Green, Sarah Palmer, Lou Hanmer, Kim Barry, Lisa Landy; (front) Kelly Nicholls, Temeka Macdonald, Rose Sievers, Nicky Burke and Mackenzie Cheeseman.