The top two Bendigo Netball League teams will meet in the A-grade grand final after Sandhurst put an end to Gisborne’s giant-killing finals run on Saturday night.
A blistering first half by Sandhurst killed the preliminary final as a contest and ended Gisborne’s hopes of a maiden grand final appearance.
The maroon and blue controlled the opening term at the Queen Elizabeth Oval and led 13-4 at quarter time.
Chloe Watson was outstanding in goal defence for Sandhurst, while mid-courters Brianna Dalrymple-Monro and Ebony Evans helped choke Gisborne’s attacks.
The second term was just as one-sided, with Sandhurst extending its lead to 15-goals, 25-10, at the main break.
But defender Melissa Harris inspired Gisborne to improve in the second-half, as the red, white and blue won the third term, 15-9.
Gisborne couldn’t threaten Sandhurst in the final quarter, though, with the QEO-based side triumphing 45-35 to advance to a grand final showdown with Eaglehawk.
Sandhurst suffered a demoralising 17-goal loss to the Hawks in the second semi-final and hasn’t beaten the Borough this season, but Sandhurst co-coach Jannaya Webb believes her team can challenge for the title.
“If we play anything like we did yesterday we should be able to,” Webb said.
“We haven’t beaten them, so we’ve got a lot of work to do. The pressure they apply is probably a bit more intense than anyone else that we’ve played against.”
While Sandhurst looks ahead to its chance to avenge last year’s grand final loss to Golden Square, Gisborne will take many positives from its finals campaign.
Gisborne had never won an A-grade final before this season, but knocked-off the reigning premiers and Kangaroo Flat.
“We look at it, yes it was a disappointing loss (on Saturday night), but in saying that we’ve finished the highest we’ve ever finished and won two finals, so the girls will take some confidence from that going into next year,” Gisborne coach Paige Rymer-Hamilton said.
“I was really proud of them. They kept fighting which was a good sign for them.”
Sandhurst, meanwhile, will play grand finals in every netball grade this weekend.
Sandhurst’s A-reserve team triumphed over Eaglehawk 43-33 in a preliminary final to set up a grand final showdown with Golden Square.
Sandhurst and Eaglehawk are the grand finalists in B-grade after Eaglehawk edged-out Golden Square 44-40 on Saturday.
A thrilling 34-33 win over Golden Square in the B-reserve clash meant Sandhurst advanced to a grand final duel with Kangaroo Flat.
Sandhurst and the Roos will contest the 17-and-unders following Flat’s 34-26 win over Gisborne on Saturday.