BY NATHAN DOLE
A SUPERB run by the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL’s women’s open netball team at Netball Victoria’s Association Championships was ended in the semi-finals.
A team coached by Kangaroo Flat’s Jayden Cowling and assisted by Strathfieldsaye’s Steph Freemantle achieved a championship-best of 10 wins and a draw across Sunday’s preliminary rounds at Parkville.
Runner-up at the previous year’s tournament, Bendigo was in hot form across the preliminary matches of last Sunday’s event at the State Netball Centre.
The Bendigo FNL began with an 18-10 victory against SS&A Ovens and Murray, and then fought for a 13-12 victory against Kingston & District.
In the next two matches the blue and gold beat Waverley Night, 20-12, and Banyule & District, 10-9.
The streak kept rolling in a 20-5 win against Northern, and 18-13 victory against Western Region.
A 13-all draw with Murray in game seven was followed by wins against Mountain District, 24-2; reigning champions Goulburn Valley, 16-11; West Gippsland, 19-3; and Hampden, 16-8.
Although it had beaten Banyule in the preliminary rounds, Bendigo’s quest for titles success was ended as Banyule achieved a 14-12 victory in the semi-final.
The Banyule line-up raced to a five-nil lead.
Although the Bendigo FNL team fought back brilliantly, Banyule reigned supreme and later on scored a 13-12 win against SS&A Ovens & Murray in the championship decider.
The Bendigo FNL team in the women’s open division was Kirby Elliott, Claudia Mawson (Gisborne); Abbey Ryan, Ashley Ryan, Milly Wicks (Kangaroo Flat); Shae Clifford, Heather Oliver, Charlotte Sexton, Sophie Shoebridge, Bec Smith, Meg Williams (Sandhurst); and Alicia McGlashan (South Bendigo).
Meanwhile, the Bendigo FNL’s 17-and-under team achieved a win-loss tally of 3-6 and a draw at the Association championships in Parkville.
Highs for the league’s rising stars were a 14-11 win against Gippsland, a 22-4 result against Central Murray, and 15-10 victory against West Gippsland.
Two of the team’s defeats were by a goal.
The Bendigo FNL 17-and-under team was coached by Nicole Donnellon and Sharni McPherson and made its way to Parkville after an unbeaten run at northern zone finals in Bendigo.
Joint captains of the team were Reese Gilchrist and Megan Wilson.
The 17-and-under final at the Association titles went the way of Banyule in a 15-9 result against Hampden.
The Bendigo Strathdale Netball Association’s 13-and-under team, coached by Sandhurst’s Tamara Gilchrist, finished with one win and a draw from six matches.
St Albans-Caroline Springs beat Wodonga, 17-8 to claim the championship trophy.