Saturday's Sandhurst versus Kangaroo Flat BFNL A-grade netball clash lived up to expectations with the Dragons prevailing by one goal in a thriller.
Both teams entered the round four encounter undefeated and so often matches built as blockbuster encounters turn into fizzers.
Not so for Saturday's big game at the QEO.
In a match worthy of a final, the Dragons won 52-51 to grab a one-game lead over the Roos at the top of the table.
The quality of the match whet the appetite for what's to come between the two teams later in the season.
"It was a great game,'' Sandhurst coach Tamara Gilchrist said.
"As expected, right from the first whistle it was a tough contest.
"Obviously, both teams wanted to win, but it was just awesome to be involved in such a great game."
After a tight first half, the Dragons opened the third quarter strongly and looked like breaking the game open.
To the Roos' credit they dug in to keep the home side within arms' length at the final change.
Sandhurst had a couple of chances early in the final quarter to put a gap on the Roos, but a couple of missed shots and turnovers left the door open for the Roos to pounce.
And pounce they did.
The Roos briefly levelled the scores midway through the term and drew within one goal with less than two minutes to play.
A shot from Abbey Ryan to tie the scores in the dying seconds rattled around the ring and fell out.
The Dragons rebounded the ball and held on to record a stirring victory.
"You give a quality team a chance and they'll make you pay,'' Gilchrist said of the Dragons' second half.
Read more: Saturday Scoreboard
"In the end we held one to win by one goal...I don't mind if we win by one or by 10 as long as we get the points."
The Roos' cause wasn't helped by an ankle injury to defender Carly Van Den Heuvel in the second quarter.
Flat coach Jayden Cowling was proud of the way his side fought the game out.
"We're disappointed we lost, but we were pumped to play in a 60-minute intense game of netball,'' Cowling said.
"It felt like a finals atmosphere and we had our chances at the end, but it wasn't to be.
"I think we did a pretty good job considering we haven't had a pressure game like that this year or really since the 2019 grand final."
In other A-grade games on Saturday, Kyneton produced arguably its best performance of the season to hold South Bendigo to a 52-52 draw.
Gisborne consolidated its place in the top three when it wore down a determined Maryborough, 54-36.
Eaglehawk celebrated its first win of the season when it defeated Golden Square 60-33 at Canterbury Park.
Strathfieldsaye gave Castlemaine a scare at Camp Reserve, with the Magpies winning narrowly, 60-56.
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