Bendigo’s netballers stole the show in Saturday’s inter-league encounters with arch-rival Ballarat.
The Bendigo open netball team was too slick and had too much firepower for Ballarat in its dominant 60-38 win, while the 17-and-under squad showed plenty of class in its 43-35 victory.
“There is so much talent in our league at the moment,’’ BFNL open netball coach Tamara Gilchrist said.
“There’s a lot of great young talent coming through the ranks… and to see so many different clubs being represented here today was great as well.”
The open team set up its big win with a dominant first quarter.
Centre Brooke Bolton set the tone through the midcourt and goal attack Abbey Ryan and goal shooter Gabe Richards combined magnificently to give Bendigo a 15-7 lead at the first break.
After leading by 12 at half-time, Bendigo had a lapse in the third term and Ballarat cut the deficit to as a few as seven before the home side went up a gear again.
In the final quarter, Bendigo stamped its authority over Ballarat, scoring 21 goals to eight to run out 22 goal winners.
“I was very happy with the start we had,’’ Gilchrist said.
“We dropped some intensity in the third quarter and lost concentration, but we put the foot back down in the last quarter.
“It was a very impressive performance.”
Bolton was judged best on court for her outstanding four quarter performance.
Goal defence Allira Holmes and goal keeper Carly Van Den Heuvel were brilliant.
The Ballarat defence had no answer for Richards. The Golden Square star scored 35 goals from 43 attempts, while goal attack Ryan added 18 goals from 22 attempts in three quarters of game time.
Milly Wicks, who was outstanding at wing defence in the first half, moved to goal attack in the third term and scored six goals from seven attempts before returning to wing defence for the final quarter.
Richards, Ryan and Wicks were well serviced by Bolton and wing attack Ash Ryan.
The 17-and-under clash was a tighter contest, but Bendigo always looked the stronger side.
Led by Gisborne wing attack Holly Doricic, Bendigo led by five goals at half-time.
Ballarat made a surge in the third quarter to cut the margin to three goals at the final change.
However, Bendigo steadied and won the final quarter 12-7 to win the match by eight goals.
Doricic was judged best on court, 14-year-old goal attack Ruby Turner, from Sandhurst, was superb, while Maryborough goal shooter Keely Hare shot 30 goals.
“The girls did everything we could have asked for,’’ Bendigo 17-and-under coach Melinda Keighran said.
“They are a great group of girls to work with. They played as a team and there were no individuals.
“The depth of talent here is amazing. The girls who missed out on the final team and were emergencies are very good players as well.
“It’s an exciting time for Bendigo netball.”
Bendigo’s winning 17-and-under squad: Keely Hare, Ruby Turner, Holly Doricic, Bree Heiden, Makayle Dole, Sophie Shoebridge, Millie Fogart, Paige Ryan, Tyla Evans.