Top spot up for grabs as Sandhurst plays Gisborne at QEO
by Nathan Dole
TOP spot on the A-grade netball ladder is up for grabs when Sandhurst takes on Gisborne this Saturday in round 17 of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season.
Gisborne’s loss at home to Eaglehawk, and Sandhurst’s win at Golden Square in last Saturday’s action led to a switch in positions.
The maroon and blue faces the team in red, white and blue on the court at Queen Elizabeth Oval once again.
Aiming for a hat-trick of A-grade premierships, Sandhurst will be desperate to retain top spot and have a rest in the first weekend of finals on August 31 and September 1.
The reigning premiers started this season in spectacular fashion.
A run of six consecutive victories was ended when Gisborne outplayed Sandhurst in the eighth round.
Gisborne played brilliantly on its court at Gardiner Reserve to record a 53-38 victory.
The start to the second half of the home and away series began with Sandhurst being beaten by Kangaroo Flat, 48-50, at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Since then the maroon and blue has gone on a five-match winning run.
Gisborne will be determined to regain form.
A six-goal loss to Eaglehawk at home followed a hard-fought 10-goal win on Maryborough’s court, and 52-48 victory against South Bendigo in Gisborne.
Beat Sandhurst for a second time and Gisborne climbs back to number one and likely to stay there as it hosts Golden Square in the final round.
South Bendigo’s lead-up to a long-awaited A-grade finals campaign rolls on when it plays Strathfieldsaye at Harry Trott Oval in Neale Street, Kennington.
The Bloods did not win last Saturday’s match on Kangaroo Flat’s court, but a 12-goal margin showed they can be extremely competitive.
In round eight, South Bendigo won on Storm’s court at Triple M Park in Tannery Lane by nine goals.
The Bloods will be wary of an opponent which won at Kyneton by 19 goals, was within three goals of Kangaroo Flat at the final whistle, and is fresh after last weekend’s rest.
It’s South Bendigo’s last hit-out of the regular season in A-grade as it’s drawn to play at Castlemaine’s Camp Reserve in the 18th round.
Eaglehawk and Kyneton clash on the Borough’s court at Canterbury Park.
Confidence in the Hawks’ squad will have soared after a 42-36 victory at Gisborne.
Eaglehawk is fighting to take the double chance from Kangaroo Flat, a team it faces in the 18th round on the Roos court at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park.
The round eight match between the Tigers and Hawks at Kyneton Showgrounds ended in a 56-35 win for the visitors.
Maryborough hosts Kangaroo Flat at Barkers Oval in Princes Park.
A stretch of three consecutive home games for Maryborough began with a loss to Sandhurst, win against Golden Square, and loss to Gisborne.
The Magpies will be keen to hit back from a six-goal defeat at Kyneton, but face a daunting task.
A brilliant run by the Roos in the past eight rounds includes a 49-all draw at Eaglehawk, a 50-48 victory against Sandhurst at the QEO, and 35-39 result at Gisborne.
Golden Square will play Castlemaine in the lower grades of netball at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.
Standings in the Bendigo FNL A-grade netball competition:
Sandhurst 152 per cent, 56 points; Gisborne 130, 56; Kangaroo Flat 149, 50; Eaglehawk 123, 50; South Bendigo 96, 32; Kyneton 88, 26; Strathfieldsaye 84, 24; Maryborough 77, 22; Golden Square 48, 4.