Pyramid Hill and Newbridge brace for another epic netball encounter

Pyramid Hill defensive star Kate Burton is a likely match-up for Newbridge sharpshooter Jane Reid in Sunday's qualifying final at Mitiamo. The Bulldogs have lost their past two encounters against the Maroons.
Pyramid Hill defensive star Kate Burton is a likely match-up for Newbridge sharpshooter Jane Reid in Sunday's qualifying final at Mitiamo. The Bulldogs have lost their past two encounters against the Maroons.

PYRAMID Hill is hoping it’s a case of third time lucky in Saturday’s qualifying final against Newbridge at Mitiamo.

The Bulldogs are winless in two previous clashes with the reigning premiers this season, though it’s not like they haven’t come close to victory.

Only five goals separated the teams in a marvellous season opener at Newbridge, while the margin was only two goals in an epic round 10 encounter at Pyramid Hill.

The Bulldogs were forced to play catch-up at home after plunging to a four goals to 11 deficit at quarter time, in what coach Deb Forster this week described as her side’s worst quarter of netball this season.

“It was (the worst), I remember looking at it and thinking ‘what is going on’,” Forster said.

“To the girls’ credit, they came back and were even at half time and then by the end of third quarter we were up by three. But then we lost by two.

“But that’s how close these teams are and this season is. If they didn’t get a jump on us at the start, who knows what might have been.”

It’s been a fantastic season to date for both clubs; Pyramid Hill recovering from a 0-2 start to the season to finish 11-4 and Newbridge dropping just two games (both to Mitiamo) while rarely having a full complement of players to choose from.

Forster nominated gun defence-end player Amy Jackman, who missed the Maroons win over Bears Lagoon-Serpentine last weekend, and shooter Jane Reid as players who would command the full attention of her Bulldogs players.

“They are two you definitely need to shut down,” she said.

“Jess (Holdstock) will likely be on Amy and Kate (Burton) will be on Jane. That’s some good individual match-ups.”

Earlier in the week, Maroons coach Kristy Shay said she was expecting another epic tussle against the Bulldogs.

“Pyramid Hill certainly won’t let us down in so far as being as strong as we expect them to be,” she said.

Jane Reid

Jane Reid

“Hopefully everyone is going to be fully fit on Saturday,” she added in reference to a flu bug which sidelined several players across all grades last week.

The winner will meet Mitiamo in next week’s second semi-final.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater or Calivil United will exit the finals race following Sunday’s elimination final at Calivil.

The Mean Machine enter the cut-throat final with wins in both earlier season encounters against the Demons.

Calivil United coach Teigan Redwood would no doubt be buoyed by the fact her side was able to bridge the losing margin from 17 goals to five from their first clash in May to the second in July.

The Mean Machine enter the clash with wins in four of their last five matches, with first-year coach Meg Allen saying her players were excited to again be paying finals.

“It’s unfortunate we don’t get the double chance – essentially it’s a  must-win,” she said.

“I suppose we have the upper hand having beaten them twice during the season, but it will be a really close call with them being on the home court.”

“In our favour we are playing really well. Last week against Marong we did really well despite the wet conditions, so hopefully we hit the court running on Sunday.”

The Mean Machine have its goal tandem of Olivia Treloar in Leah Sartori in good form, while Anna Parry has impressed since stepping up from B-grade to replace the injured Alex Perera.

“(Olivia and Leah) have gelled really nicely all year, so hopefully they can have another great day – they’re game changers once they have their eye in,” Allen said.

I suppose we have the upper hand having beaten them twice during the season, but it will be a really close call with them being on the home court."

Bridgewater coach Meg Allen

“For them, Teigan is a great player and their defence is always really strong and so is their attack.

“Our whole team’s defensive pressure will be very important.”

Calivil United has won two of its last three games, the only blemish being last weekend’s loss to Pyramid Hill.