Hawks face huge challenge against Sandhurst at QEO
by Nathan Dole
EAGLEHAWK faces a massive test against Sandhurst in this Saturday’s 14th round of A-grade netball action in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League.
The clash between the second-placed Sandhurst and third-placed Eaglehawk carries match of the day status at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Eaglehawk is in a fierce fight to hold third place and the crucial double chance at finals time.
The Two Blues lead fourth-placed Kangaroo Flat by four points, but the Roos have a percentage gap of 30.
Last week’s rest because it was drawn to play at Castlemaine could work for or against the Hawks.
Earlier in the year their bye was followed by a 43-67 loss to Sandhurst at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park.
In a season marked by seven wins, three draws and just one defeat, Eaglehawk has shown it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Highs for the Two Blues include a 48-47 win at home against Gisborne in round seven, and hard-fought draws with South Bendigo and Kangaroo Flat.
Stung by a 15-goal defeat at Gisborne in round eight and a two-goal loss to Kangaroo Flat at the QEO in round 10, Sandhurst has won its past three matches at Strathfieldsaye, 29-21; against QEO co-tenant South Bendigo, 67-49; and at Maryborough, 74-45.
Victory is a must for Sandhurst to be a chance of dislodging Gisborne from top spot.
The maroon and blue will play Gisborne at the QEO in the 17th round.
Gisborne is back on its court at Gardiner Reserve to face South Bendigo this Saturday.
In round five, Gisborne won on South Bendigo’s second home at Harry Trott Oval in Kennington by 20 goals.
The Bulldogs and Bloods added to their win tally last round.
Gisborne scored a 24-goal victory on Strathfieldsaye’s court at Triple M Park, and South Bendigo beat Golden Square at the QEO by 28 goals.
The Bloods are under pressure to hold fifth place ahead of Kyneton.
South Bendigo is six points clear of the Tigers who are at home to play Strathfieldsaye this round.
A tough run for the Bloods to end the home and away series is Kyneton at QEO; play at Kangaroo Flat; take on Strathfieldsaye at Harry Trott Oval; and bye.
Kyneton is on the rebound from a 40-goal loss at Kangaroo Flat when it faces Strathfieldsaye in Tigerland at Kyneton Showgrounds.
The round five duel between the Tigers and Storm ended in a 54-39 victory for Kyneton at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane.
The Tigers’ run in the last four rounds of the regular season is South Bendigo at QEO, Maryborough at home, at Eaglehawk, and Sandhurst at home.
A loss to the Storm would make it difficult for the Tigers to qualify for finals.
Golden Square will eye its clash at Maryborough’s Barkers Oval in Princes Park as a great chance to break its winless run.
The round five clash between the blue and gold and Magpies at Golden Square ended in a 46-44 victory for the visitors.
Castlemaine and Kangaroo Flat will contest the lower grades at Camp Reserve, but the Roos take a rest in A-grade this round.
Standings in the Bendigo FNL A-grade netball competition:
Gisborne 139 per cent, 48 points; Sandhurst 148, 44; Eaglehawk 123, 42; Kangaroo Flat 153, 38; South Bendigo 93, 28; Kyneton 92, 22; Maryborough 71, 18; Strathfieldsaye 79, 16; Golden Square 47, 4.