Nayland College A centre Nicole Whiting looks to pass down court as she is marked by Waimea College 10 A centre CJ Wilkins on Saturday. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

First round indicates tough netball season ahead

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Nelson Netball tipped off their 2015 season at Saxton Stadium on Saturday, with early indications being that the Grade 1 competition is set to be a closely-fought encounter.

The draw is a seeded one, and it was only the club derby between top and bottom seeds Jacks Navy and Jacks Silver, which created the biggest margin of the day 40-28.

It will be interesting to see how the remaining six teams, all College teams, develop throughout the season, as it is likely that they have not had a long preparation for the competition.

Nelson College for Girls Senior B sneaked passed Suburban Blue 31-30, while the 10A’s defeated Rival Blue Diamonds 35–33.

Waimea College 10A were quick out of the blocks in their match up against Nayland College A, with dynamic centre Jess Kelly to the fore. She played a strong defensive game, at times took difficult ball through the mid court, and it was pleasing to see her look long to her shooters and deliver precision feeds.

Waimea played their best netball in the first stanza when they outscored Nayland 8–4.  The three remaining quarters were all drawn to bring the final score to 23–19.

Harriet Ogilvie was a revelation at goal attack as she slotted a number of long-range shots, so good to see a young player prepared to attempt them.

Bailee Tava worked the circle well with Harriet, and was prepared to venture outside the shooting circle to offer a different option. Sheree Peters proved to be a worthy replacement at goal shoot in the final quarter when she converted four from four.

Grace Young worked hard at wing attack to deliver quality ball to her shooters, while circle defenders Maddi Springer and Alex Bloomberg toiled throughout.  Maddi showed that she has gathered an abundance of knowledge from being around the netball courts over the years, she has a great understanding of the game and was a competent ball carrier through court.

Alex read play well and despite her height she had great positioning to gain three rebounds, two tips and pulled in a well-timed intercept. Nayland did not seem to gel as well, as they appeared to struggle with numerous positional changes. Nicole Whiting worked hard at centre to contain Waimea’s   playmaker Jess Kelly. Taylah Kirker is a valuable asset on court in whatever position she plays and was sorely missed when she was substituted as she, too, looks long and directs play well.

Once she found her rhythm, Tayler Boeyen was the most accurate shooter as she returned a commendable 75 per cent goal average.

It will be interesting to see how the girls develop during the season, both as individuals and as a team.