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Golden girls give champs a fright

A fast-finishing Horouta Gold went within three goals of upsetting defending champions YMP in premier grade netball on Saturday.

The Pak’nSave premier grade competition has an even more exciting look about it as a result.

YMP Sunshine Brewery won 51-49 at the YMCA and despite falling just short, Champers Horouta Gold deservedly picked up a bonus point for finishing within five goals.

The quarter scores told the story.

YMP led 13-11, then 32-19 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter Horouta had reduced the deficit to 43-35.

“It really was a game of two halves,” said netball commentator Sherrill Beale.

“YMP had the first half and Horouta the second.

“YMP played controlled netball in the first half hour and pulled away to take a 13-goal lead by halftime,” Beale said.

“Their defence worked well and secured many tips and intercepts. Raiha Campbell at goal keep had a good game. She went out hunting the ball, collected some great intercepts and rebounded well.

“In the second half, Horouta made changes and were more confident in working together to stop YMP’s flow.

“In the last quarter, Horouta Gold scored the first four goals, then it was basically goal for goal.”

YMP coach Ingrid Brown said they had two key players missing — Paku-Jane Skudder and Bronya McMenamin — due to other commitments.

“We did well, I thought, given we had two important players away.

“I was especially pleased with Raiha’s performance. She has developed well.

“At the end of the day we were happy the girls managed the win.”

Beale said the other game between Whangara Old Girls 1 and Lytton High’s Ritana Senior A was just as exciting.

Whangara won 42-38 and like Horouta, Ritana picked up a losing bonus point for their efforts.

Whangara led 11-10 after 15 minutes and it was locked 18-all at halftime.

Whangara had the better of the third quarter to lead by four goals (29-25) going into the final period and that’s how the game ended.

“This was a closely contested game for the whole hour. Either team could have taken the win,” Beale said.

“Both coaches made changes but neither team could get dominance.”

Wednesday’s games in the YMCA feature YMP against Gisborne Girls’ High School Senior A and Claydens Waikohu against Whangara Old Girls.

HANDS UP: Whangara Old Girls shooter Sandee Porter gets both hands on the ball despite the attentions of Ritana Senior A goal keep Te Aria Henwood. Whangara won 42-38, one of two closely-contested premier grade netball games in the YMCA on Saturday. Picture by Paul Rickard