Eaglehawk wins one-goal thriller against Gisborne on netball court
by Nathan Dole
EAGLEHAWK scored a stunning 47-46 victory against Gisborne in Sunday’s first semi-final to stay in the race for the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League’s A-grade premiership.
The Hawks and Gisborne played one of the best finals matches in years on the court adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Gisborne ended the home and away season in second place and was on the rebound from a 35-50 loss to Kangaroo Flat in the previous weekend’s qualifying final.
The Hawks began their finals campaign by scoring a 45-33 victory against South Bendigo in the elimination final.
Regular season matches between Eaglehawk and Gisborne had been closely-fought.
In round seven, Eaglehawk fought for a 48-47 win on its court at Canterbury Park.
When they met in round 16 at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve, the Two Blues triumphed 42-36 in what was Gisborne’s only defeat at home all season.
Sandhurst is just one victory away from capturing an A-grade premiership hat-trick.
Top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, Sandhurst faced Kangaroo Flat in Saturday night’s second semi-final.
The maroon and blue had won the first-round match on the Kangaroos’ court at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park by a goal.
In round 10, Kangaroo Flat scored a 50-48 win on Sandhurst’s court at the QEO.
The “big game” experience of the Sandhurst line-up was to the fore in the second semi-final as it powered to a 41-27 victory.
The Kangaroos played superb netball the previous week to defeat Gisborne, but Sandhurst’s strong defence, slick mid-court and strong attack were all key factors in the win.
Kangaroo Flat takes on Eaglehawk in next Saturday’s preliminary final at the QEO from 4pm.
Scores were locked on 49-all when the Roos and Hawks met in round nine at Canterbury Park.
A 40-38 victory by the Roos in the last round of the home and away series stitched up third spot and the crucial double chance at finals time.
Sandhurst has another week’s rest and will face the winner of the preliminary final between Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk in the September 21 season decider.
Bendigo FNL netball semi-finals scoreboard:
Second semi-finals played on Saturday:
A-grade: Sandhurst 41 d Kangaroo Flat 27.
A-reserve: Sandhurst 57 d Gisborne 42.
B-grade: Kangaroo Flat 51 d Sandhurst 41.
B-reserve: Strathfieldsaye 44 d Eaglehawk 33.
17-under: Sandhurst 40 d Gisborne 29.
First semi-finals played on Sunday:
A-grade: Eaglehawk 47 d Gisborne 46.
A-reserve: Kangaroo Flat 33 d Eaglehawk 21.
B-grade: South Bendigo 37 d Golden Square 35.
B-reserve: Sandhurst 51 d Gisborne 30.
17-under: Golden Square 64 d Eaglehawk 32.
Six clubs will be represented in next Saturday’s preliminary finals.
Winners advance to the grand final and it’s season over for the defeated teams.
Schedule for next Saturday’s preliminary finals at Queen Elizabeth Oval:
A-grade at 4pm: Kangaroo Flat v Eaglehawk.
A-reserve at 2.40pm: Gisborne v Kangaroo Flat.
B-grade at noon: Sandhurst v South Bendigo.
B-reserve at 10.40am: Eaglehawk v Sandhurst.
17-under at 1.20pm: Gisborne v Golden Square.
The Sandhurst FNC has three netball teams through to the September 21 grand finals.
The maroon and blue will contest the A-grade, A-reserve, and 17-under matches.
Kangaroo Flat bounded into the B-grade grand final as it scored a 51-41 win against Sandhurst in the second semi.
Strathfieldsaye will vie for the B-reserve title against Eaglehawk or Sandhurst.
Storm scored an 11-goal win against Eaglehawk in Saturday’s second semi-final.