Maids fall short in decider O&K NETBALL By JUSTIN JENVEY
BRIGHT was unable to cap off its dream finals run with one last victory on Saturday.
The Mountain Maids went down to Benalla by five goals in the inaugural Ovens and King under 15s netball grand final at Wangaratta’s WJ Findlay Oval.
The 24-19 result gave the All Blacks their first netball flag in any grade in the competition.
In an entertaining first match of the day just one goal separated the two teams at the first break before the strong play of Benalla over the next two quarters gave the All Blacks control.
After trailing 13-10 at halftime Bright found themselves seven goals down ahead of the final stanza after Benalla outscored them 7-4 in the third quarter.
Bright twice cut the margin to four late in the game but couldn’t get any closer as the All Blacks maintained their composure until the final whistle.
Bright coach Marnie Witts said she and fellow coach Tracy Fitzpatrick couldn’t be happier with the efforts of their young team after coming from fourth on the ladder to play off in the decider.
“We’re so proud of the girls they had such a good finals campaign, they improved so much over the season and are already talking about next year,” she said.
“To have gone from not thinking we wouldn’t win a game all season after the first round, to making the grand final was amazing.
“It was probably about round 10 when we really started win games consistently and climb up the ladder.
“In our finals campaign be beat some teams we didn’t beat during the home and away season and unfortunately Benalla were just to good on Saturday, we played so well but just didn’t convert when we needed to.”
Ashley Farmer, who cut short her holiday in Thailand to play in the grand final, was one Bright’s best players while Hettie Hurst finished with 15 goals.
Benalla’s Aneiki Pierce was named best-on-court for her strong game in attack. PRESSURE: Ashley Farmer defends against Benalla’s Holly Morrison. Grant Harris tackles Steve Whybrow. PHOTO: Marc Bongers