As rain lashed the Jack Stewart Courts in Charlestown, Tiffany Watters and her first grade side made the call to “slow down” their pace against Illusion to try and keep hold of the soaked game ball.

It was the right call, in the end, as the controlled focus gave Watters a key 58-34 win, and fired them back into a top four position ahead of the long weekend.

It’s been a back-and-forth battle between Watters and their now fifth-placed rivals Purnells, as both independent teams look to lock down a spot in the playoff places. After Purnells got the better of Watters in their clash two weeks ago, Tiffany admitted the team had to “fire up” to get back their place. Sunday’s 24-goal win did just that.

“We’re back in the top four, even though we’re all pretty sore from the game on the weekend, the win makes it alright,” Watters said. “We made sure we slowed down in the wet, because it was a bit messy until we made that call.

“It was just so bloody wet, and everything was slippery, so we were happy to come away with the win in those conditions. We couldn’t do anything but focus on our own game because the ball changed hands so many time in the rain.”

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The win puts Watters onto 17 points after four wins in seven games, just a single point ahead of Purnells (3-4, 16 points). The miniscule gap brings into sharp focus Watters’ first game back after the long weekend break – their battle against Central.

Central Leagues have yet to taste defeat in Charlestown’s top grade, winning seven from seven to reach the halfway point of the season. Just this weekend, the league leaders faced perhaps their closest match of the season when they faced Purnells, coming away with a narrow 39-35 victory in the wet.

Following the four-goal win, Central have kept control of first by two points. Impact rest on 22 points, with their 6-1 record, ahead of the week off.

Central are seven from seven thus far in 2019, and lead the table by two points. Image via Kerrie Brady.

Watters knows her side is in for a “tough one” when they come up against the undefeated pacesetters, but also knows if they can collect a victory against the grain they will be in good stead to potentially fend off any challenges from the bottom half of the table.

“It’s going to be a tough match, but one that we want to win so that we can keep this fourth place, or even better,” Watters said. “We’re wary though, Purnells beat us quite convincingly last time we played them because a few of our girls weren’t 100 percent, and then Central beat Purnells just this week. We know we’re in for a hard run.”

Alongside Watters and Central’s victories, Impact scored a 42-26 win over Misfits to keep their second place secure ahead of the break. Job Done, who are ahead of Watters by just a single point now, had the bye in the eighth round.

STANDINGS: Central (24), Impact (22), Job Done (18), Watters (17), Purnells (16), Illusion (12), Misfits (10).