THE fifth-placed Eaglehawk will chase a crucial victory against Sandhurst in this Saturday’s seventh round of A-grade netball in the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season.
League officials had planned for this to be round nine, but changes were made as the travel restrictions on Melbourne-based players had a greater impact on some clubs more than others.
As such, Sandhurst and Eaglehawk now meet at BFNL headquarters at Queen Elizabeth Oval in View Street.
A win for the Borough at the QEO would give it a decisive one-game win and sizeable percentage break on sixth-placed Kyneton.
It’s a daunting task for Eaglehawk against a Sandhurst line-up which has dominated play on the QEO this season.
Sandhurst’s winning margins at league headquarters have been 50 against Maryborough, 52 against Golden Square, and 40 against South Bendigo.
Chasing a historic fourth consecutive A-grade title, Sandhurst’s sole defeat this season was a 46-51 result on Kangaroo Flat’s court at Bendigo Mazda Oval in Dower Park in round four.
The Hurst has not played since the 71-31 victory against QEO co-tenant South Bendigo on May 8.
Sandhurst was drawn to play Castlemaine, not fielding an A-grade team on May 15, and then had a rest a week later as Kangaroo Flat and Golden Square met in a stand-alone fixture to complete round six.
The Hawks worked hard to be within 13 goals of the skilful Gisborne team at S & R Park in Canterbury Park on May 15.
Eaglehawk’s ability to maintain a high level of pressure in all quarters will be vital to an upset win against the highly-rated Sandhurst team.
The Hawks and Dragons match starts at 2.30pm.
Down south, Gisborne and Kyneton meet at Gisborne’s Gardiner Reserve.
The hosts will start favourite to take the points.
Kyneton worked hard to score a 44-42 win at home against Maryborough last round, but faces a more challenging task this Saturday.
The Bulldogs and Tigers match starts at 2.30pm.
Golden Square is at home to play South Bendigo at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.
After a breakthrough 38-36 win against Strathfieldsaye in round six, Golden Square was beaten at Castlemaine by 12 goals and then by 43 at Kangaroo Flat.
The blue and gold worked hard in the opening quarter of the clash with the unbeaten Kangaroos, and will be determined to play better for longer this round.
South Bendigo marked the 200th match for Janelle Hobbs as an A-grade coach in the BFNL by scoring a 62-47 win against Strathfieldsaye at the QEO.
The Bulldogs and Bloods will contest the A-grade match from 3.20pm.
Maryborough takes on a red-hot Kangaroo Flat at Barkers Oval in Maryborough’s Princes Park.
The Magpies broke a run of defeats at home when they scored a 46-32 win against Golden Square in the fifth round, but the Kangaroos are a formidable line-up.
The Pies and Roos match in the top grade begins at 3.20pm.
Strathfieldsaye has another rest in A-grade, but Storm will face Castlemaine in the lower grades at Triple M Park in Strathfieldsaye’s Tannery Lane.
Standings in the Bendigo FNL’s A-grade netball competition:
Kangaroo Flat 199 per cent, 22 points; Gisborne 136, 22; Sandhurst 196, 20; South Bendigo 89, 16; Eaglehawk 92, 12; Kyneton 70, 12; Maryborough 73, 8; Strathfieldsaye 74, 4; Golden Square 55, 4.
Play on June 19 will be Kyneton against Sandhurst, Gisborne hosts Maryborough, Eaglehawk takes on Strathfieldsaye, and South Bendigo meets Kangaroo Flat.
Castlemaine plays Golden Square at Camp Reserve, but only in the lower grades as the Magpies are not fielding an A-grade team this season.
Written by Nathan Dole.