Prices Pharmacy A celebrate back-to-back Nelson premier netball titles after a 65-53 win over Stoke in the final at Saxton Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.

Fast start helps Prices defend netball title

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Prices Pharmacy goal shoot Rayna Olsen was convinced her team was nervous, but you would never have known watching their 65-53 Nelson premier grade netball triumph over Stoke at Saxton Stadium on Saturday.

Prices were more clinical and accurate early and raced out to a five goal advantage in as many minutes.

Prices Pharmacy goal attack Mahi Law stretches for the ball during the final. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.
Prices Pharmacy goal attack Mahi Law stretches for the ball during the final. Photo: Evan Barnes/Shuttersport.

That margin extended to 18-8 by the end of the first quarter.

That margin ballooned to a game-defining 15 goals by halftime.

“I think we were nervous to start, but once we got out there we all felt really good,” Rayna says.

The win went according to the form guide.

Prices had beaten Stoke in their two previous meetings and were named best defensive and attacking team in the premier grade.

So stacked with talent were Prices that Rebecca Watene, who was named as the joint best player in the competition, with Jess Drummond, started on the bench.

Rayna, who shot 35 from 43, and final MVP Mahi Law, 27 from 30, feasted on some slick passing into the attacking circle from centre Dana Wilson and wing attack Miranda Hart.

“The service we got from the mid court was excellent,” Rayna says. “When we let the ball go, the speed of the passes gave us a real advantage.

“Our through-court defence was really good,”

To Stoke’s credit they did not wave the white flag in the second half, despite the deficit.

Goal keep Amber Granger was dynamic and had a good lean while Tess Eden was productive at centre.

Stoke deserved credit for winning the final quarter 17-13 and not letting their standards drop.

Rayna says, being the team to beat did add a little pressure.

“It’s been a long season; we started back in February so to go back-to-back is immensely satisfying, even though we have had our challenges with injuries.

“We’ve had the target on our back since game one and when you start really early in the year outcomes like this are very satisfying.”