PYRAMID Hill won its first Loddon Valley Football Netball League A-grade netball premiership since 2007, with a thrilling 31-29 win over Calivil United in the grand final.
The Bulldogs were pushed all the way by the defending champions, but Pyramid Hill’s better efficiency in the goal ring proved to be the difference in the end.
While the Demons whittled the margin away to two at the final whistle, it was the third quarter that proved to be match-defining.
Calivil United trailed by two goals at half-time and dominated general play in the third quarter.
However, missed opportunities in the goal ring proved to be decisive.
The Demons’ shooters were 6-16 for the term, while Pyramid Hill were 9-10, thanks largely to the efforts of goal shooter Jess Holdstock who was a perfect 8-8.
That allowed the Bulldogs to open up a five-goal lead at three quarter-time.
Calivil United started the final term strongly to cut the deficit to three and had two more opportunities to get within two goals, but errors and missed shots were costly.
Pyramid Hill made the Demons pay. Three consecutive goals to Holdstock and another from goal attack Morgan Dingwall gave the Bulldogs a match-high seven goal lead.
Hard-working goal attack Tia Steen sparked the Demons and they rallied to score three-straight goals.
The pressure of the occasion and fatigue set in on both sides with nine-straight turnovers between the two teams before Holdstock put the nail in Calivil’s coffin.
The Demons scored the last three goals of the game inside the final two minutes to make the final margin just two goals.
Holdstock scored 26 of her side’s 31 goals and had an enthralling battle with Calivil goal keeper Lauren Miller.
Miller conceded plenty of height to Holdstock, but her defensive intensity and intercepts were superb.
Miller, who was awarded the best on court medal, and goal defence Teigan Redwood kept the Demons in the game.
Pyramid Hill centre Zoe Kennedy was the most influential mid-court player, with her passing to Holdstock, particularly in the first half, a highlight.
Pyramid Hill defenders Kirby Mann and Stacey Scott did a great job of forcing Calivil’s shooters into tough shots.
“Calivil United came really hard at us in the second half,’’ an elated Pyramid Hill coach Gemma Scott said. “We were under a lot of pressure in that third quarter… but the girls held on really well.”
The grand final win was Pyramid Hill’s 16th-straight victory this season.
The magnitude of the performance even greater considering the training difficulties the team endured this year.
“We’ve never had a training session where we’ve all been at training together,’’ Scott admitted.
“The team is spread out, so it’s hard to get everyone together at once at training. It just shows how well we can come together as a team on the day and get the job done.”