Tue, May 14, 2024 10:39 PM

Quins draw first blood


Peter Jones

The battle for supremacy between the province’s leading premier netball sides looks set to be another tightly-contested affair in 2024.

At the end of last season Harlequins and Pelorus met in a thrilling grand final, which was decided by a single goal, in favour of Pelorus.

Tonight they met again in Stadium 2000, albeit with slightly changed personnel, and this time there was a two-goal difference at the final whistle.

There was also a different victor, Harlequins Totalspan coming out on top of a low-scoring encounter, prevailing 46-44.

Although this is just a grading round there was plenty of intent and purpose on show, both sides keen to gain an early-season edge over the other.

It was Quins who made the best start, leading 12-9 on the back of better shooting stats after the sides put up the same number of shots.

The second stanza was shared 10-10 before Pelorus bounced back, helped by the introduction of lively wing attack Stormy Tupara, to win the third 15-10 and take a two-goal lead into the final 15 minutes.

In a see-sawing last quarter the sides put up a similar number of shots, with Quins’ shooters Wiri Bristowe and Lauren Murray holding their nerve to push their side back in front and then stay there.

There were plenty of top performances from both sides in a quality encounter which featured a limited number of personnel changes.

The battle between Pelorus defender Oriana Houra and Bristowe was a highlight, along with the efforts of Pelorus GA Lesieli Taufa, who combined well with Paige Lovell, and Quins’ defender Olivia Robinson who snaffled plenty of loose ball at the back.

The evening’s early game saw Tokomaru, coming off a bye last week, romp past a disappointing Marlborough Girls’ College side 69-35.

Shooter Dakota Tepuia had a big night for Toko, dropping in 44 goals from 50 attempts, while the Wilson twins, Hana and Kayla, in midcourt controlled proceedings and provided silky smooth ball into the circle. Another to impress was GD Teish O’Connell, among a solid and committed Toko defensive unit.

A bright light for MGC, who got all 11 players on court, was the effort of young GA Sophia Nicholas. She dropped in 18 goals from 23 attempts and added spark to the students’ attack, after coming on in the second stanza following a disastrous 8-19 first quarter.

Next week sees the start of round two, with competition points up for grabs.

Netball scores from May 14:

Tokomaru Crafar Crouch 69 (Gemma Hika 20/24, Dakota Tepuia 44/50, Kayla Wilson 5/7) Marlborough Girls’ College Liquid Action 35 (Anel Moli 10/15, Hazel Glover 7/11, Sophia Nicholas 18/23). Quarter scores (winning team first): 19-8, 16-6, 14-10, 20-11.

Harlequins Totalspan 46 (Wiri Bristowe 34/43, Lauren Murray 12/20) Pelorus Edridge Contracting 44 (Paige Lovell 34/49, Lesieli Taufa 10/14) Quarter scores: 12-9, 10-10, 10-15, 14-10.

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