BY NATHAN DOLE
PRESSURE will be high as South Bendigo takes to Castlemaine’s court at Camp Reserve for Saturday’s ninth round of A-grade netball action in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo FNL season.
The Bloods and Magpies are keen to rebound from defeat as teams reach the halfway mark of the season.
A win for the Jannelle Hobbs-coached South Bendigo will draw level on the Magpies’ tally of five wins and a draw.
For the Castlemaine team it’s a chance to move two wins clear of the Bloods and also stay in touch with the second and third-placed Gisborne and Kangaroo Flat.
In last Saturday’s play, Castlemaine could not halt Sandhurst’s charge to a 55-34 victory in the King’s Birthday holiday weekend match played at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Magpies’ coaches Fiona Fowler and Gary Cooke are in charge of a talented line-up which outplayed Kangaroo Flat at Castlemaine in the fifth round.
The Bloods will be determined to strike back after a 32-goal loss to Gisborne at South Bendigo’s new home of Harry Trott Oval in Kennington.
Another big match in the ninth round will be at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane where Strathfieldsaye takes on Kyneton.
The Storm and Tigers are both locked on 14 premiership points and separated by 1.45 per cent.
The Steph Freemantle-coached Storm marked its best performance of the season to draw on South Bendigo’s court in the sixth round.
After a loss at home to Kangaroo Flat the next round, Storm struck back for a 69-39 win at Maryborough’s Princes Park last Saturday.
Kyneton has a win-loss tally of 3-4 and a draw.
The Dianne Guest-Oakley coached Tigers were up against Kangaroo Flat last round at Kyneton Showgrounds where the Roos romped to a 38-goal win.
The league’s top three in Sandhurst, Gisborne and Kangaroo Flat should add to their win tally this round.
Unbeaten in its pursuit of a fifth consecutive A-grade premiership, Sandhurst heads to Eaglehawk’s Canterbury Park.
The Kylie Piercy-coached Hawks played well for a 63-35 win at Golden Square last Saturday, but are up against a formidable opponent.
Six of Sandhurst’s stars will represent Bendigo FNL at the Association championships on Sunday at the State Netball Centre in Parkville.
Gisborne is back at Gardiner Reserve to take on Maryborough.
The Tarryn Rymer-coached Gisborne has a 6-2 record in which goaler Clauda Mawson and mid-courter Kirby Elliott have shone in many matches.
Kangaroo Flat takes on Golden Square on the Roos’ court at Dower Park.
A busy weekend for Roos’ coach Jayden Cowling includes the showdown with the blue and gold, and then being in charge of Bendigo FNL’s open team at the Association championships.
Standings in the Bendigo FNL A-grade netball competition:
Sandhurst 208 per cent, 32 points; Gisborne 174, 24; Kangaroo Flat 155, 24; Castlemaine 122, 22; South Bendigo 117, 18; Strathfieldsaye 93, 14; Kyneton 92, 14; Maryborough 64, 8; Eaglehawk 70, 4; Golden Square 40, 0.