After four straight weeks of finding their footing in the Netball NSW Metro League, Hunter Netball’s fourth division side chalked up their first victory in the competition. After weeks of struggling to keep goals out, and falling by just one in Round 4, Hunter’s landslide 68-19 over Parramatta was the perfect way to snap their 2019 streak.
According to co-coach Sallie Partridge, it was an iron defensive wall that the team flung up against their Sydney opponents that claimed them the 49-goal win last Monday. With the way to their own hoop shut, Hunter’s shooters were given free licence to “put everything in down the other end” to score the win.
“Our combinations have really started to come together for us now,” Partridge said of her side’s defensive powers last week. “The fact that’s all coming to fruition, and the fact we had such a strong defensive game, really got us over the line.
“In particular fair wraps to Jemma [Lucas], who played goal defence for us, and Leah Dove as our wing defence. Those two girls did so much work, and just kept winning us the ball right down the court to make sure we were always getting opportunities when we needed them.
“They have been so consistent from the get-go, and right across the season. Those two, combined with our goalkeeper Emrah Manning who just added that extra protection at the back, really got us that result that we have been looking for.”
After a long preseason for the side, to bounce out to a 0-4 record was disappointing for the young squad, but Partridge praised her junior side for their “resolve” to stay focused as the campaign crawled on in Sydney.
“These girls are all quite young, but we’ve made sure we’ve kept focus and stayed on the pathway that we set out,” she said. “Everyone here in the Hunter Academy is excited to see that they’ve kept building and progressing, it’s been to great credit for them that they’ve not let anything get them down.
“We have to keep building that confidence every week, we’re facing teams that have older players that have been around for a while. We’re teaching the young girls how to think about the game, and just building from there.”
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The club’s first division squad fell last Thursday evening in their fifth loss of the season. They were downed by now fifth-placed Eastwood-Ryde, 60-42.
Hunter’s fourth division side faces Ku-ring-gai (3-2) on Monday evening in the competition’s 8.30pm timeslot as they search for their second win of the year. Hunter’s first division roster will play in the 7pm slot on the Show Court against the Inner Western Suburbs. The Sydney side are currently third place with a 3-2 record.
Keep track of Hunter Netball’s ongoing results: facebook.com/hunternetball.