Norths start­ing to hit their stride

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Norths cen­tre Re­becca Meroiti in ac­tion against Rockz 1 on Satur­day.

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