Anyone who thought Sandhurst was going to cruise through the BFNL A-grade netball competition can think again.
One week after dropping a game to Eaglehawk, Gisborne handed Sandhurst a 53-38 defeat at Gardiner Reserve on Saturday.
It was the second-straight season Gisborne has beaten Sandhurst at Gardiner Reserve.
"We love playing Sandhurst because it's always a great battle,'' Gisborne skipper Maddy Stewart said.
"We love playing at home as well and we had a big crowd on Saturday for FightMND day.
"We're really happy with the way we played."
The manner of the victory was the most pleasing factor for Stewart and the Bulldogs.
The free-scoring Dragons make a habit of scoring 50-plus goals, but Gisborne managed to hold the reigning premier to less than 40.
"We made a really good start and that gave us the confidence to keep paying the way we wanted to play,'' Stewart said.
"I think last week against Eaglehawk we were too worried about trying to stop Eaglehawk from playing the way they like to play and we went off our game.
"We were consistent and didn't take our foot off the pedal all game.
"We led by about four to six goals at quarter-time and extended the lead every quarter which is really pleasing.
"To keep Sandhurst to a score like that was a credit to our team defence."
Sandhurst remains on top of the ladder - 25 per cent clear of second-placed Gisborne.
Eaglehawk is half a game back in third place after it scored a 56-35 win over fifth-placed Kyneton on Saturday.
The Borough's wins over Gisborne and Kyneton in the past two weeks sets up a huge clash with fourth-placed Kangaroo Flat next Saturday.
The Roos are just half a game behind the Borough after they wore down Maryborough 57-36.
Kangaroo Flat dominated the first quarter and looked set to record an easy victory.
However, the visitors fought back strongly in the second quarter to reduce the margin to six goals at the main break.
An 18-10 third term by the Roos broke the game open and they extended the margin to 21 in the final term.
South Bendigo closed in on a top-five berth by defeating Strathfieldsaye at Tannery Lane.
The Bloods won 53-44 to move to 14 points - the same as fifth-placed Kyneton.
The Tigers lead the Bloods on percentage, but that could change next week with Kyneton facing the daunting challenge of playing a Sandhurst side on the rebound from a rare defeat.
South Bendigo has the bye next round and, after winning four games for the whole year in 2018, goes into the halfway point of this season with a much-improved record of three wins and a draw from eight games.
Maryborough - also on 14 points after eight rounds - could jump the Tigers and Bloods if it defeats Strathfieldsaye next week.
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