THE last time Castlemaine played A-grade netball finals, a story in the Bendigo Advertiser detailed how $28,000 worth of CDs and cassettes had been stolen from a Kyneton music store.
Just as cassettes have faded into memory, so has the ’Pies last BFNL finals campaign back in 1991.
But this Sunday at 3pm, that barren run will end when Castlemaine faces Golden Square in an elimination final at the QEO.
Ironically, it will be almost 22 years to the day since Castlemaine faced the same opponent and recorded their last post-season win – 55-44 in a qualifying final on August 31.
That symmetry has a good feel about it for Castlemaine coach Kate Wastell.
“It’s going to be repeated, isn’t that lovely,” she said this week.
While Wastell might have had her tongue planted in cheek with that comment, she didn’t deny her team was quietly confident.
The ’Maine is one of only three teams – the others being Kangaroo Flat and Gisborne – to defeat Square this season.
The Magpies won 47-45 at Camp Reserve in round five in what proved to be a massive blow for Square’s top three hopes. Square won the return bout convincingly, 44-30, but Wastell believes her team can harness the excitement of playing finals to challenge the favourites.
“The girls are very excited, very nervous. The girls who have been at the club for a while – they’re rapt, they’re happy and they just want to do well,” Wastell said.
“We’ve got people in the team who are really experienced in finals – Meg Gilbert, myself and Belinda Gibbs – who all play in different parts of the court who are experienced in finals we’ve played for other teams.
“Even though the club hasn’t, we’ve got the experience there to hopefully pull it off. We’re going in confidently, for sure.”
Back in ’91 Castlemaine made it through to a preliminary final. If the ’Pies can pull off a run like that again, they might even break out some cassettes for the party at Camp Reserve.