Norths starting to hit their stride
It’s finally starting to click for Norths 1 in the Kapi Mana premier netball grade.
The perennial Porirua champions have started their season with three wins and a loss (to Aotea College) and that’s been a frustration for coach Ngahiwi Meroiti.
Several players have been on rep duty or becoming new mothers, so it has not been easy gathering a squad to train and play together consistently.
It has also meant many of the squad are wearing bibs they’re not used to.
Norths 1 got the job done on Saturday against Rockz 1, after overcoming a rusty start. The first quarter was goal for goal, but Norths put the accelerator down in the second half, recording an 80-57 win.
The combinations and flow got better as the game went on.
Meroiti said that was pleasing and hopefully a sign of things to come.
‘‘This was a much better display than we’ve had the first few weeks of the season,’’ she said.
‘‘Both teams shot very well, but the key for us was getting those defensive turnovers and transforming them into points. That was the difference.’’
Having all her representative players back and with Norths 1 – along with KBJ 1 – having earned regional Super League status, it could only be good for unity and consistency, Meroiti said.
‘‘You need time together to get those connections and at the moment we’ve got goal defences shooting and shooters playing in the defensive circle. Once we get everyone back into their core positions, rather than mixing and matching, we’ll come right.’’
Jermaine Howard-Vallance was a key player for Norths 1 and her shooting had been outstanding, Meroiti said. She has been joined in the circle by Laura Teono, who is adapting well to this level of netball.
Having Colleen Faleafaga, fresh off a stint with New Zealand Secondary Schools, back at goal defence would also come in handy.
In other results from Saturday KBJ 1 beat Te Tai Timu 2 70-40, Te Tai Timu 1 got up over Aotea College 53-50, and Norths 2 won by default over Mana College.
Meroiti, who coaches at Mana, said the school was struggling to field a team, and a meeting this week would decide whether they withdraw from the competition.
Judgeford Golf Club’s division one side finished their season on a high by taking out the President’s Salver over Boulcott Farm in a thriller at Royal Wellington on Sunday. The morning foursomes ended with Judgeford 3-2 up. In the singles, Jeremy Clarke, Moleni Fa’aaliga, Kiki Maepu and Dane Crawford won convincingly. Craig Wilkins and top seed Michael Payne finished their matches all square, the latter nailing a clutch six-foot putt on the final hole to clinch the trophy.
In Wellington premier club rugby league on Saturday, St George Dragons pipped Petone 22-21 at Cannons Creek Park to register their second win this season. Porirua Vikings, meanwhile, saw off Upper Hutt 34-16 in a night match at Bernie Wood Turf. The result leaves St George in sixth place on five points. The Vikings are fourth in the standings on 10 points. Titahi Bay Marlins strengthened their grip on the reserve grade by beating Trentham 46-24, keeping their unbeaten record intact this season.
In the opening round of Jubilee Cup rugby, the metronomic boot of James So’oialo was the difference as Tawa beat Wainuiomata 16-14 at Lyndhurst Park. It was a huge boost for Tawa after they ended the Swindale Shield competition with two losses.
In the second tier Hardham Cup, meanwhile, Paremata- Plimmerton recorded a moraleboosting 12-8 victory over Poneke at Ngatitoa Domain. Three penalties to Ryan McLean and another to Blake Neve got Pare Plim home in a tight affair.
It has not been an easy season for Pare Plim and the win on Saturday spoke volumes for their spirit and fighting qualities.
Northern United went down 62-33 to Johnsonville at Helston Park, though perhaps the result had paled into insignificance beside news of the death in France of former Norths player Jerry Collins. Norths’ women’s side won the first round Fleurs Trophy match with a 96- 0 hammering of Wainuiomata.
Tawa and Western Suburbs both sustained heavy losses in Central League football on Sunday. Tawa fell 6- 1 to Palmerston North Marist at Memorial Park and Wests’ trip to Napier ended in misery as they went down 5-1.
Tawa stay bottom, three points adrift of Lower Hutt. Wests have dropped to third in the standings, two points behind Wairarapa United and five behind Napier.
Norths centre Rebecca Meroiti in action against Rockz 1 on Saturday.