Prices Pharmacy couldn’t add the Tasman Trophy to the cabinet on Saturday, going down 46-43 to Marlborough champions SMOG.
Prices were unable to give captain Shar Lowe the perfect send off in what was possibly her final appearance for the club as SMOG claimed regional bragging rights with a hard-fought victory.
The Nelson champions were hampered by disruptions. With Holly Chandler and Dayna Whiting backing up from the game to appear in the Southern Zone volleyball tournament, Prices opted to make several positional and personnel changes throughout.
“I am disappointed, we just didn’t adapt to the changes,” Shar says.
However, Shar says it was good to blood some of the wider squad members such as Hana Tava and Becky Green who have played limited minutes throughout the season.
“The fact they came to every training and sat on our bench every week, they deserved it.”
Played on court four at Saxton Stadium due to the volleyball tournament, Prices were guilty of simple mistakes early on, SMOG making the most of their bonus possession to take an early 4-1 lead.
Holly continued her outstanding form inside the circle, her pressure on defence helping the hosts stay in touch with the Marlburians.
Shar missed a shot to even the honours before the end of the first, SMOG taking a slim 12-11 lead.
Wing attack Katelyn Gardiner and Shar sat out the second, replaced by Miranda Hart and Shardae Herring respectively. Shardae didn’t waste any time getting on the scorers’ sheet as both replacements made an impact to help Prices take a 23-21 lead at half-time.
She stood up strongly to the impressive pair of Stacey Chandler and Bonnie Morris while Tess Eden and Dayna started to show their class to form a formidable defence with Holly,
Prices made more changes in the third, Becky coming on at centre with Shar shifting to goal attack.
The teams continued to trade goals with the scores remaining square for the majority of the third before SMOG edged ahead at the death 35-31.
The physicality intensified in the final fifteen, a determined Holly throwing herself around the defensive circle as SMOG clung on to a slim advantage.
Shar’s deadly accurate radar saw the sides go into the final five minutes locked up at 41-apiece, before the errors crept back into Prices game and SMOG’s sharp shooters Karli Murphy and Kate Gaudin put the result beyond doubt.
Despite the loss, Shar says it has been a great year for the team.
“Overall, it’s been a roller coaster of a season, but it was awesome to finish on a high and get to play these guys by winning the Nelson competition. I’m proud of my girls, we have had ups and downs, but we have stuck together.”
The Prices stalwart says she now thinks it may be time to hang up the bib.
“I think I’m done but we will see, there are just so many young kids around and they need an opportunity.”