GOLDEN Square withstood a spirited fightback by Gisborne to win Saturday’s A-grade netball clash in the Bendigo FNL by a goal.
The blue and gold led 22-19 at half-time and then surged clear in the third to lead 33-27 with a quarter to play at MyJet Oval in Wade Street.
The final quarter was to be Gisborne’s best as the visitors scored eight goals and kept Square to just three.
Despite being put under enormous pressure, Square held on to clinch a 36-35 victory in the battle between the league’s fourth and fifth-placed teams.
Golden Square coach Kath Basilewsky said the win was an important lift to confidence as the teams will meet in the elimination final.
“For this match we went back to the starting line-up that won last year’s grand final,” Basilewsky said.
The changes included Basilewsky at goal attack for the first half, with Jess Geary in the position for the second half.
Basilewsky said Golden Square’s defensive pressure in every third of the court was a key to victory.
“We forced a few turnovers in this match, and more importantly, converted a few of those chances.”
Golden Square’s best players were goalkeeper Tara Henkel, goal defence Jacqueline Dupuy, and Basilewsky.
This season’s meetings between the teams stand at one-all after Gisborne won the round nine clash at Gardiner Reserve by nine goals.
In Saturday’s other matches, Eaglehawk beat Kangaroo Flat by 13 goals.
The Hawks led 26-14 at half-time, but the third-placed Roos lifted after the long break to be outscored by just one goal by the ladder leader.
South Bendigo was within four goals of Castlemaine at the start of the final quarter on the QEO court.
Defensive pressure led to many turnovers by the Bloods and Magpies.
Castlemaine led 12-8 at quarter-time and increased its margin by a goal in the second quarter.
South hit back to win the third term, 11-10, as the midcourt worked hard to retain possession.
Castlemaine capitalised on some errors in the last to score a 45-36 victory.
Chelsea Williams was best for Castlemaine, while Shelby Thatcher was South’s best.
At Princes Park, Maryborough beat Strathfieldsaye Storm, 42-32.
The Borough led 20-17 at half-time and won the crucial third term, 11-7.
Sandhurst had the bye.