SANDHURST has powered back to the top of the BFNL A-grade ladder with a convincing 22 goal win over Golden Square at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The Dragons, with their class goalers Rebecca Smith and Heather Oliver combining brilliantly, established their ascendancy early and never relented.
Smith was at her absolute best in the opening quarter, scoring 16 goals from 17 attempts as the Dragons advanced to a 12 goal lead at quarter time.
With Dragons centre Brooke Bolton dominant in the midcourt and the defensive trio of Carly Van Den Heuvel, Imogen Sexton and Emma Tindall keeping a tight-rein on the Bulldogs, Sandhurst increased its lead to 14 by the main break.
Any hopes of a Bulldogs’ resurgence were quickly extinguished, with the Dragons unleashing one of their finest quarters of the season to outscore Golden Square 21-10.
Smith went a perfect 13 goals from 13 attempts, while Oliver added eight from 11.
The Bulldogs, who were without centre Kelly Wilson and defenders Meg Gilbert and Lucy Morcom, did their best work in the final quarter, outscoring the Dragons 19-16, but were unable to prevent the Dragons from scoring a quality 77-55 win.
Smith finished with 51 goals from 56 attempts, while Oliver scored 26 from 34 attempts.
For Golden Square, Gabe Richards finished with 46 goals from just 49 shots, including a perfect 16 from 16 in the second quarters and 15 from 15 in the final term.
The win was Sandhurst’s second significant victory over Golden Square this season.
The Dragons defeated the Bulldogs by 26 goals in round three.
This one was achieved without star midcourter Meg Williams, who had VNL duties on Sunday.
The Dragons were able to give emerging youngster Sophie Shoebridge a run in the final quarter at goal defence and she did not miss a beat as her teammates put the lid on a stunning show of strength.
Sandhurst, which has 10 wins and a draw from 12 matches played, heads the ladder on 42 points, two clear of Golden Square.
The Dragons meet Kyneton next week, while Golden Square faces Eaglehawk, which had to settle for sharing the points following a 43-43 draw against Strathfieldsaye.
Simone Foster and Ashley Ryan were best for the Hawks, who were looking to bounce back after a defeat to Kangaroo Flat before the break.
The win keeps the Storm’s finals hopes alive ahead of another tough match against Gisborne next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Kyneton has broken through for its first win of the season with a nine goal victory over Castlemaine at Camp Reserve.
The Tigers won 52-43, reversing a three-goal loss from earlier in the season at Kyneton.
With the Tigers possessing a superior percentage, it was enough to lift them from the bottom of the ladder and into ninth place.
Maryborough enhanced its finals chances and at the same time dealt a blow to South Bendigo’s with a nine goal win.
The Magpies’ 54-45 win on their home courts made amends for an earlier season loss to the Bloods and gives them six wins for the season.
A crucial contest against Kangaroo Flat awaits next Saturday at Dower Park.