Mountain Maids miss spot in grand final
Bright’s C grade and under 15 netball sides have crashed out of this year’s Ovens and King finals.
After losing semi-final matches to Bonnie Doon and Greta respectively on September 1, C grade was downed by King Valley in Saturday’s preliminary final while the under 15 girls fell to Whorouly.
Both losses brought to an end seasons that promised so much after the two teams dominated their respective competitions during the home and away seasons on their way to claiming minor premierships.
The two teams lost just one game each during the 18 round regular season before their early finals exits.
In Saturday’s C grade match against King Valley, Bright looked in ominous form early opening up a three-goal advantage at quarter time.
They were limited to just six goals from nine attempts in the second term but still led by a goal at the main break.
In a third quarter that saw the defence of both teams on top, forcing numerous turnovers but also plenty of unforced errors, King Valley gained control.
The Roos’ six goals were enough to see them grab the lead as Bright’s shooters made just four of their 13 shots.
Both Tessa Williams and Lily Ricardi, standout players this season as the C grade leading goal shooter and league best and fairest winner respectively, also struggled in the last.
The pair shot just 6 of 17 in the final quarter while King Valley made the most of their chances netting 8 of 11 to claim a 26-29 win.
Unlike their clubmates the under 15s trailed at every break.
A strong third term saw Bright narrow a four-goal halftime deficit to one at three quarter time, however Whorouly managed two more goals from their nine shots in the final stanza to win 27-24.
Isabella Saric and Ashlee O’Neil were the standouts for the Lions who came from further back than Bright did a year ago to qualify for the grand final.
Whorouly finished the home and away season in fifth spot, one place lower than Bright in 2017 who were beaten by Benalla in last year’s decider.
Bright under 15 co-coach Marni Witts said her team missed first-choice defender Amy Ditcham while also admitting that nerves may have played a part.
“When you’re at the top that expectation is huge, and I think all the girls were quite nervous, particularly in our first final,” she said.
“It was disappointing for things to end the way they did but we had an amazing season and the thing myself and Tracy (Fitzpatrick) are so proud of is the sportsmanship of the girls, that’s something we’ve tried to instil in them.”
FINALS FRENZY: Arnika Filippi was called upon in the second half of Bright’s C grade netball clash against King Valley on Saturday. PHOTO: Justin Jenvey