The Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) team took on the unbeaten Netball Central in the final round of the Beko Netball League at Tokoroa Events Centre on Saturday
This was always going to be a tough final game for Netball WBOP, up against an unbeaten Central side with a place in the Beko Netball League Grand Final on the line.
The two teams were evenly matched for most of the first quarter with both teams applying strong defensive pressure, however a few three goal runs gave the Central team a four-goal lead heading in to the first break.
Central started the second quarter strong with quick goals and continued to build on their momentum, picking up key intercepts and deflections on defence. Netball WBOP goal keeper Hannah Riddling stood out for the team in defence, however, her one intercept and three deflections were not enough to stem the flow of Central’s goals. Central won the quarter 17–10 and had a commanding 11 goal lead heading into half time.
Netball WBOP came out firing in the second half, scoring goals in quick succession to reduce the deficit to nine. Central responded strongly with increased defensive pressure holding Netball WBOP to only three goals for the reminder of the quarter and piling on the goals to lead 44–29 heading into the final stanza.
With an increasing margin to close, Netball WBOP rang the changes in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to stop Central continuing with their impressive form, finally taking out the match 58-37. This loss meant that Netball WBOP weren’t able to secure the much coveted Beko League grand finals berth and will instead have to watch from the sidelines as Central take on Netball Mainland in the Grand Final match, this Sunday at Trusts Arena in Auckland.