BY NATHAN DOLE
GISBORNE ended Sandhurst’s remarkable reign as A-grade champions of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL netball competition on Saturday.
From five goals down at five minutes to go, Gisborne staged a remarkable fightback to score a 40-39 victory.
The showdown between the Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne and the Tamara Gilchrist-coached Sandhurst team chasing a fifth-consecutive premiership lived up to the expectations of the hundreds of fans.
Unbeaten in its run to the finals, Sandhurst had scored a 38-32 victory at Gisborne in the seventh round, and won 47-31 on the QEO in the 16th round.
The Dragons outpointed Gisborne, 44-38 in the second semi.
Gisborne’s run through the finals included a 37-31 against Kangaroo Flat in the qualifying final.
After being beaten in the second semi, Gisborne hit back for a 49-36 victory against Castlemaine in the preliminary final.
Going into the grand final the Gisborne players knew they would have to play exceptional netball to upstage a powerful and skilful opponent.
The team in red, white and blue did so as Gisborne had plenty of its footballers and netballers cheering on.
Gun goal attack Claudia Mawson capped an outstanding game by being best on court.
Co-captain of the Gisborne team, Mawson teamed brilliantly in the goal circle with rising star Torie Skrijel who had played in the 17-under premiership last September.
Kirby Elliott (captain), Claudia Mawson (captain), Kiralee Collings, Rylee Connell, Zoe Davies, Charlee Kemp, Emerson Lakey, Tazma Morris, Tiana Newman, Eloise Rodda, Olivia Rodda, Torie Skrijel.
Coach: Tarryn Rymer.
A great day for Gisborne began with victory in the 17-and-under match against Gisborne.
Gisborne’s pursuit of back-to-back premierships was slightly derailed when Sandhurst beat it by three goals in the second semi.
The Rylie Connell-coached Gisborne struck back to win the preliminary final against Golden Square to earn a grand final berth against the maroon and blue.
A superb match between Gisborne and the Carol Cathcart-coached Sandhurst ended in a 50-49 victory for the red, white and blue.
Talented goaler Bella Connors earned best on court honours.
Charlie Busby, Bella Connors, Jessie Connors, Charlotte Davies, Olivia Fenn, Emma Joyce, Sapphy McCarthy, Charlotte Taylor, Dasha Taylor, Ruby Taylor.
Coach: Rylee Connell.
From a remarkable tally of five teams in grand finals, Sandhurst netted two premierships.
It was a 10-goal victory for the Dragons in the A-reserve clash with Gisborne.
Throghout the home-and-away series the Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne won the home clash with Sandhurst at Gardiner Reserve by five goals.
Scores were 50-all at the end of the round 16 clash at the QEO.
The Tamara Gilchrist-coached Sandhurst began its finals campaign with a 50-27 victory in the qualifying final against Kangaroo Flat.
A week later and the maroon and blue fired up for a 44-33 result in the second semi against Gisborne.
The Bulldogs bounced back for to beat Kangaroo Flat, 48-37 in the preliminary final.
A talented Sandhurst line-up included Kelsey Ralph who earned the Jenni Holborn Medal as the league’s fairest and best player for her skill at goal attack or goalshooter.
In defence Charlotte Sexton was in superb form to claim the best on court medal as the maroon and blue charged to a 43-33 victory.
Erica Dalrymple-Monro, Katie Dean, Reese Gilchrist, Gab Greene, Tess Keating, Eliza Oxley, Kelsey Pallpratt, Kelsey Ralph, Paige Ryan, Charlotte Sexton, Lilly Walsh, Darcey Williams.
Coach: Tamara Gilchrist.
The B-grade match between Gisborne and Sandhurst also went the way of the Dragons by 11 goals.
In round seven the ‘Hurst won 53-38 on Gisborne’s court.
Next time they met was a 54-all result at the QEO.
Stung by 46-48 loss to Gisborne in the second semi, Sandhurst fought back to win the preliminary final against Kangaroo Flat by five goals.
On grand final day it was the Jarileey Schultz-coached Sandhurst line-up which had Elli Williams leading the way which claimed a 56-45 victory.
The Jarileey Schultz-coached Sandhurst has the experience and leadership of Briona Giddings and Erica Dalrymple-Monro.
Briona Giddings (captain), Erica Dalrymple-Monro (vice-captain), Aimee Dean, Tahlia Isaac, Maggie Keating, Tarryn Knights, Eliza Oxley, Lucy Sherriff, Lily Trimby, Elli Williams.
Coach: Jarileey Schultz.
Kangaroo Flat also claimed a premiership victory.
The Kate Newman-coached Kangaroos capitalised on Sandhurst errors in what was clearly the team’s best performance of the year to win 48-41.
The contest feature Kangaroo Flat’s Ashlye Faulkner and Sandhurst’s Isabelle Whiteley who were joint winners of the league’s fairest and best award.
In the grand final it was Roos’ goalkeeper who was the stand-out to claim the best on court medal.
Shae Cairns (captain), Sophie Nicholson (captain), Lily Dickson, Madeline Dowling, Ashlye Faulkner, Lydia Lowndes, Macey O’Shea, Gemma Roberts, Alex Rusbridge, Claudia Shelton, Hayley Smith.
Coach: Kate Newman.