The Hunter region boasted six teams in the Netball NSW State Titles Opens Division 2 competition in Campbelltown, including the Maitland, Lakeside, Singleton, Port Stephens Cessnock, Muswellbrook, and Nelson Bay netball associations.
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After tumbling in the second division off the back of their 2018 results, Maitland were out to prove they still belong in the championship – and they delivered. After twenty-one games, the squad had lost just twice, and ran second out of 24 teams.
The squad rampaged to 18 wins overall, and slotted home more than 500 goals. They have all-but earned their promotion back to the championship grade for 2020.
“Going into state with a very young team with an average age of 18 and lack of experience and height for playing in the opens division was always going to be a hard task,” Maitland president Kim Starkey told the Mercury.
“By taking advantage of our strengths we were able to achieve a fantastic result. Our ability to turn balls over throughout the whole court was definitely a standout.”
The association’s juniors had strong results in the middle of their second division standings as well. The 17s finished with ten wins and three draws from their 21 games played, and ended their run in Campbelltown in 10th. The 15s finished 11th at 8-10.
Lakeside scored a major fourth place finish in the Opens second division. The team opened with a four-game winning streak to put them in good stead, knocking over Ulladulla, Gunnedah, Grafton, and fellow Hunter association Singleton, before running afoul of Goulburn in a nailbiting 17-16 loss.
Lakeside recovered to close out their first day with a 24-18 win over Narrabri, and a landslide 31-11 victory over Muswellbrook. The team marched to an 11-game run in their final two days, including a massive 41-5 win over Cooma, and a narrow 20-19 victory over Shoalhaven. In the end, Lakeside was denied a potential promotion berth by Maitland, who downed them 22-11 in the final fixture.
The association also had their 15s run well in the second division, chalking a 9-9 record overall. The 17s struggled to find their footing in the juniors championship, scoring just three wins over the weekend to finish 18th.
Singleton chalked a great top six finish in the second division in Campbelltown, scoring 16 wins and falling to defeat just four times across their 21 games.
It was their opening day that held the most mixed results. A 5-2 record set Singleton the right path, before a loss on each of the final two days confirmed their record. Notably, Singleton battled to a standstill against Hunter side Maitland, who finished second overall. Their draw saw each side score 18.
Singleton’s 17s scored four wins and a draw in their eighteen played games to finish 14th in the third division bracket, while their 15s finished 8th with a 9-9 split record.
Port Stephens had just two teams head to Campbelltown, with their opens and 15s both battling their way through just under two dozen matches over the long weekend.
In the end, the ladies in blue scored a 15th place finish in the opens second division, winning nine of their 21 games. In the 15s third division, Port Stephens had similar results. The association finished 17th off the back of a 2-2-14 record.
The 17s lead the way for Cessnock in Campbelltown, battling their way to a tight 8-1-9 record that coughed up a sixth place finish for the ladies in yellow. The Hunter side were one of the stand-outs in the fourth division standings.
For Cessnock’s open side, a 17th place finish awaited in the second division. Two drawn results left the team with a 7-2-12 record. However, the team bounced back from an 0-3 record after falling to Dubbo, Ulladulla, and Gunnedah in quick succession, and their grit and determination to climb back to their eventual finish was impressive.
Finally, the association’s 15s scored a 5-13 record over the three days, and finished 15th in their age bracket’s second division competition.
Muswellbrook celebrated a special occasion in Campbelltown, as they took a state team to the titles for the very first time. In the end, their open-age squad finished 19th in the second division with a 5-16 record, but those five victories would have tasted all the sweeter for the inaugural squad.
The associations 17s ran best on the weekend, chalking twelve wins and two draws in their 21 games to finish fifth in the second division. The 15s placed 11th with eleven wins.
Nelson Bay had just one team enter into the Netball NSW State Titles in Campbelltown, but that team shone bright despite the pressure of being the association’s lone representatives. After eighteen games, Nelson Bay finished second in the third division, knocking over sixteen teams to march to the silver-plated, and patch-bearing finish.
A 27-18 loss to Shoalhaven in the team’s fifth game all but sealed their second place finish, as their opponents stormed to an 18-0 record to claim first place. Outside of their battle with Shoalhaven, however, Nelson Bay light the courts alight. They scored nearly 400 goals across their eighteen outings, and conceded just 220 – the best defensive record of the entire division, including first placed Shoalhaven.
Catch up on all the Netball NSW 2019 State Titles action here:
- Newcastle claim state trophy after invincible campaign | photos
- Charlestown battle through state’s best to run seventh | photos
- Westlakes score memorable return in Opens Championship | photos
- Young stars lead the way for Kurri Kurri in Campbelltown | photos
- All the action & photos from Hunter’s campaign in the NSW State Titles