ANOTHER nail-biting finish between Kangaroo Flat and Sandhurst has ended in the BFNL A-grade season’s first draw.
Little separated the Roos and the reigning premiers throughout a finals-calibre contest at Dower Park, which ended with the scores locked at 56-apiece.
Goal shooter Adrienne Murphy had two chances in the dying seconds to snatch victory for Kangaroo Flat, but with both shots missing their mark, the fourth-placed Roos had to be content to share the points with the Dragons.
The margin was just three goals when the two teams last clashed this season in April.
While disappointed not to get the win, Roos coach Jayden Cowling said he was happy to see his side again being able to match it with the ladder leaders.
“We definitely had our chances to win, but so did Sandhurst …. it was like a finals game,” he said.
“We find that we match up pretty well against Sandhurst.
“With the top four, I think any team can win on the day, but we haven’t been able to match up as well against Eaglehawk and Gisborne, but our match-ups against Sandhurst have been good.”
Cowling was quick not too lay the blame on those two late missed shots and instead praised Murphy and her goaling partner Brooke Lawry as two of the Roos’ best contributors in the see-swaing contest.
“It wasn’t her fault, we had other chances earlier on,” he said.
“She was pretty nervous, but she was (also) pretty far out from the post.
“Adrienne shot a massive amount of goals.”
The Roos were well led by their powerful and hard-working centre Chelsea Sartori and Ingrid Hopkins in defence.
The draw ended a 20-game winning streak for the Dragons, which began in round 10 of last season.
Sandhurst got strong performances in goals from an accurate Kelsey Meade and Brooke Bolton in the midcourt and continue to head the ladder by six points over its nearest rival.
Elsewhere, Gisborne shored up its premiership credentials with an impressive 20 goal win against top three rival Eaglehawk.
The Bulldogs were able to capitalise on a fast start to lead by seven goals at quarter time en-route to a 68-48 victory at Gardiner Reserve.
Winning coach Kim Bailey said her team had been ‘relentless’ and desperately keen to make amends for an earlier season loss to the Hawks.
“We had a shocker last time, but this is how I know we can play,” she said.
“We played relentless, never say die defence today (Saturday), and our two goalers Clare Vearing and Ella Bertachinni were just too big and powerful.
“It all just came together at last.”
Bailey said the recent addition of Vearing, who plays VNL netball for Boroondara, had been a huge bonus and gave the Bulldogs a second tall and agile target in the goal circle.
She said the only slightly disappointing note to the win was conceding a run of six-straight goals in the final term, which ensured the Hawks levelled the quarter at 14 goals apiece.
The Bulldogs coach paired Keara Fitzgerald with Maddy Stewart at the defensive end of the court with maximum effect.
At Harry Trott Oval, South Bendigo put a dent in Maryborough’s finals hopes with a fighting 50-49 win.
The win was the Bloods’ second this season and has fuelled hopes of a strong finish to the season.
It was a memorable day for Tegan Childs, who was best on court for South Bendigo in her 150th game.
The Bloods also got great production from goaler Paige Randall.
In next week’s games, Sandhurst hosts bottom-side Strathfieldsaye at the Queen Elizabeth Oval, Kangaroo Flat is away at Maryborough, Eaglehawk will look to rebound against Golden Square, while South Bendigo and Gisborne have byes.