Junction Hotel has put their second win on the board with a 52-42 outing against Maryville Tavern. The victory moves them to sixth in the Greater Open Championship standings, just two points away from a finals position.
Head coach Helen Wilson said herself and the whole team were “ecstatic” to have earned the ten-goal win against their table rivals on Saturday afternoon. Considering how close the tail of the table has become six rounds into the year, Wilson said the team had circled their calendars for the clash against Maryville as a “must-win” game.
“The girls knew it was a crucial game to get us off the bottom of the table if we could get points, and they dug really deep and got that win we were aiming for,” she said. “We’re pretty happy to come away with it in the end, and played strong right to the last shot despite the circumstances.”
Maryville and Junction had been trading blows for much of the contest at National Park, with the Stella roster leading by 14-10 after the first quarter. Maryville were able to bounce back in the second, however, winning the quarter 13-10 to sit just a single goal behind their opponents heading into the second half.
Then tragedy struck for Alize keeper Annie Neenan. The young defender went down injured early in the third quarter and forced a change to Tiffany Janus for the final periods of the clash. While Janus settled in quickly, the Junction picked up too much momentum from the change to be stopped. They rolled to a five-goal lead in the third, before a 14-9 final quarter sealed the deal for Wilson’s outfit.
According to the Junction coach, the game was won in the centre-court battle. While Claire Kowald was putting away every change that came her way, it was centre Khiani Hepburn and wing attack Jessica Jennings that were building the chances for success.
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“Jessica and Khiani played really well and led us to the victory, they were really crucial in getting the ball into the circle for Claire, and then all our shooters were able to score the goals that got us ahead,” Wilson said.
“This was a really important win for us to collect because it’s given us a lot of belief and confidence in ourselves. We’ve shown we can put points on the board this year, and with our connections building ever-stronger each week I think the second round is going to be a completely different story for us in a lot of our reverse fixtures.”
Also on Saturday, Souths knocked over Nova 50-36 to keep control of second place, while West Leagues Balance 1 beat their sister team 72-22 to stay level with the Lions.
Finally, Forsythes recorded a dominant second-half against BNC after the injection of shooter Sabina Gomboso and mid-court star Kimberley Williams. The league leaders held a 26-23 lead at the half-break before Gomboso and Williams fired the ladies in blue to an eventual 57-43 victory to stay two points clear at the top.
Next weekend sees Souths and Forsythes lock horns in a battle between first and second, just one round before the mid-season break.
STANDINGS: Forsythes (22), Souths, West 1 (20), Nova (16), BNC, Junction (14), Maryville (12), West 2 (10).