Mercury (Hobart)

Cavaliers’ champion effort

- RENEE GODFREY

CAVALIERS were crowned State League netball premiers after overcoming a slow start to win 62-57 against Northern Hawks.

Cavaliers, led by most valuable player and shooter Hayley McDougall, fought back from an eight-goal deficit at the first break.

And it was only in the dying minutes that they managed to pull away by more than a few goals in a highly skilled, greatly contested and entertaini­ng match.

Hawks got the better start when their full court hands over pressure really had Cavaliers struggling to find an easy path to goal as they forced a number of balls into McDougall.

The entry of Zoe Claridge at goal attack for Cavaliers appeared to steady their attack end but a great chase down from Issy Maskell just before the end of the quarter helped Hawks extend their lead to 17-9 at the first break.

Increased body-on-body pressure from Cavaliers in the second quarter unsettled Hawks’ attack end. There were some rushed passes and missed shots as Cavaliers chipped away at the gap.

An intercept to Shelby

Miller and a held ball in the dying minutes, along with a goal on the siren, gave Cavaliers a 28-27 lead at halftime.

The teams went goal-forgoal for much of the third when McDougall and Mawer continued to be focal points for their teams. The scores remained locked at 45-45 to set up a stellar last quarter.

It was Cavaliers with the

first break of the quarter when a joint effort from Dufty and Bec Hyland to intercept a high ball led to Mawer giving them a twogoal lead.

However, a rare miss from McDougall had Hawks back level, only for Hyland to come up with another big intercept to again give her team a two-goal buffer.

Cavaliers were lucky when Hawks failed to rebound two missed shots, whereas Cavaliers made no mistake in cleaning up Hawks’ only miss of the quarter to open up a four-goal lead with three minutes to go.

Cavaliers co-coaches Dannie Carstens and Dan Roden were elated with their players’ achievemen­ts.

“I’m so proud of the belief that we have had,” Carstens said.

“Full credit to every single athlete. We got all 11 athletes out there on court today and they all played their roles so well, so I couldn’t be more proud.”

Hawks coach Kellie Woolnough was gracious in defeat.

“Congratula­tions to Cavaliers,’’ Woolnough said. “I’m really proud of the Hawks girls and the season we’ve put out there in 2021, and I’m sure this will put a hunger in their belly for 2022.”

In the under-19s, Devon won 37-35 in a thriller against Cripps.

Devon’s Grace Close was named player of the match.

 ?? Picture: Jess Stevenson ?? Ecstatic Cavaliers players with the trophy after beating Hawks to win the Tasmanian Netball League.
Picture: Jess Stevenson Ecstatic Cavaliers players with the trophy after beating Hawks to win the Tasmanian Netball League.
 ??  ?? Ash Barty
Ash Barty

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