Back-to-back flags for Blighty

Southern Riverina news - - LOCAL CLASSIES -

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.’’

RIGHT: 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.

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