BY NATHAN DOLE
LOCKED on 4 ½ wins, Kyneton and South Bendigo will be desperate for the points in Saturday’s 12th round of A-grade netball in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL season.
It’s a crucial contest for the Tigers and Bloods at Kyneton Showgrounds.
When they met in round four it was South Bendigo which won a top contest, 48-44 at Kennington’s Harry Trott Oval.
After a run of four defeats, South Bendigo has dropped to the sixth rung on the ladder.
Win at Kyneton and the Jannelle Hobbs-coached Bloods will be back in fifth place, provided Castlemaine wins on Strathfieldsaye’s court at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.
Victory for the Dianne Guest-Oakley coached Kyneton will also put the yellow and black in the mix for a finals berth.
Since a three-goal win at Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park in round seven, Kyneton was beaten at home by Kangaroo Flat by 38 goals, and then at Strathfieldsaye by eight goals.
The Tigers then won at Golden Square, 69-20, and last round ran into the Sandhurst juggernaut and was beaten by 54 goals at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
South Bendigo drew 53-all with Strathfieldsaye in round six and a week later won at Maryborough’s Princes Park by 50 goals.
In the past three rounds the Bloods were beaten by Gisborne, Castlemaine, Eaglehawk, and then Kangaroo Flat.
Another big match will be at Strathfieldsaye where Storm takes on Castlemaine.
The Steph Freemantle-coached Storm has netted three wins, two losses, and a draw in the past six rounds.
Latest hit-out for Storm was at Golden Square where it won the match at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street by 48 goals.
Storm takes on a Castlemaine team on the rebound from a one-goal loss at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve.
The Fiona Fowler and Gary Cooke-coached Magpies will start favourites.
Castlemaine won the round three match against Strathfieldsaye at Camp Reserve by 17 goals.
It’s a win-loss tally of 3-2 for the Magpies in the past five rounds.
Kangaroo Flat is on its court at Dower Park to take on Maryborough.
The Jayden Cowling-coached Kangaroos jumped to the third rung after it won last week’s match against South Bendigo by 20 goals, and Castlemaine was beaten.
In round three it was a 75-29 victory for the Roos on Maryborough’s court.
The Roos will be keen to tune-up their game ahead of a round 13 showdown at Gisborne, and then at home against Castlemaine the following week.
It’s a young Maryborough team coached by Jordan Macilwain.
The Magpies have put some great quarters together, but also been overpowered by more experienced rivals throughout the season.
After back-to-back wins, Eaglehawk faces a tough test on its court at Canterbury Park against Gisborne.
The Kylie Piercy-coached Hawks have lifted their play markedly in the past two rounds to beat South Bendigo and then at Maryborough by 31 goals.
Huge challenge for the Two Blues against the Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne which is on a four-game winning streak.
In round three, Gisborne scored a 49-26 win at home against the Borough.
It’s the winless against the unbeaten as Golden Square takes on Sandhurst at Fur Life Oval in Wade Street, Golden Square.
Daunting task for a young Golden Square line-up coached by Benita Swatton.
A formidable Sandhurst team includes defender Sophie Shoebridge in game 101 for the maroon and blue.
Standings in the Bendigo FNL A-grade netball competition:
Sandhurst 207 per cent, 44 points; Gisborne 176, 36; Kangaroo Flat 161, 32; Castlemaine 129, 30; Strathfieldsaye 101, 22; South Bendigo 104, 18; Kyneton 92, 18; Eaglehawk 76, 12; Maryborough 58, 8; Golden Square 36, 0.