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Sandhurst takes extra time to stitch up another A-grade netball premiership

by Nathan Dole

SANDHURST celebrated another A-grade netball premiership as Saturday’s clash with Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League rival Gisborne went into extra time.

The clash between the competition’s top two capped a brilliant day of matches on the court at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Sandhurst held a nine-goal lead at three quarter-time, but Gisborne charged back brilliantly.

Ella Bertachinni’s goal after the final whistle made it 43-all and five-minute halves of extra time.

Led by the play of Meg Williams at wing attack, and great shooting by Kelsey Meade, Sandhurst won extra time, 10-4, and the contest, 53-47.

Sandhurst’s joint coaches Tamara Gilchrist and Heather Oliver were rapt with the players response to Gisborne’s fightback.

Chasing back-to-back flags, Sandhurst showed it had learnt a lot from the second semi-final defeat to Gisborne.

The maroon and blue led 13-12 at quarter-time and confidence and momentum grew from there.

Sandhurst led 27-21 at half-time and 39-39 at a quarter to go.

Talented teenagers Meg Williams, goal defence Imogen Sexton and wing defence Sophie Shoebridge played key roles in the team’s run to premiership glory.

Meade and Rebecca Smith scored 30 and 23 goals respectively.

For the Kim Bailey-coached Gisborne the first half proved costly, but she praised the team’s fighting spirit against a quality opponent.

A great season for Gisborne included goal defence Maddy Stewart earning the Betty Thompson Medal as the competition’s best and fairest player.

A memorable day for Sandhurst included premiership victories in B-grade and 17-and-under.

League best and fairest Briona Giddings was in hot form as Sandhurst scored a 48-37 win against Golden Square.

The Hayley Bolton-coached Sandhurst led by a goal at quarter-time, but charged to an 11-goal buffer by the long break.

Sandhurst’s day on court began with a 40-33 victory in the 17-and-under match against Gisborne.

The Rose Gallagher-coached Sandhurst drew away in the last after scores were level at a quarter to play.

Sandhurst achieved a win-loss record of 15-0 and a draw in the home and away series.

For six players it’s a premiership in consecutive years.

The Maddy Stewart-coached Gisborne fought its way from an elimination final.

Kyneton’s great run in A-reserve rolled on as Tigers fought on for a 47-46 win against Kangaroo Flat.

The Tigers and Roos showed plenty of skill and determination in a closely-fought contest.

Victorious in A-reserve, Kyneton’s goal is step up and compete in A-grade next season.

South Bendigo’s win in the B-reserve clash with Strathfieldsaye was full of emotion for long-time players Mel Dillon and Emma Tomlins.

The match went into extra time after Strathfieldsaye stormed back to win the last term, 12-8, and make it 39-all.

The Bloods handled the pressure well to seal a 48-43 victory in what was the last match that Dillon and Tomlins would play in the Bendigo FNL.

A premiership capped a fine year in which Tomlins joined the 250-game club.

Bendigo FNL netball grand final scoreboard:

A-grade: Sandhurst 53 d Gisborne 47 (extra time).

A-reserve: Kyneton 47 d Kangaroo Flat 46.

B-grade: Sandhurst 48 d Golden Square 37.

B-reserve: South Bendigo 48 d Strathfieldsaye 43.

17-and-under: Sandhurst 40 d Gisborne 33.

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