BY NATHAN DOLE
A CLASH between the second and third-placed White Hills and Colbinabbin highlights this Saturday’s ninth round of A-grade netball in the Bendigo Bank Heathcote DFNL season.
White Hills has home-court advantage at Winslow Constructors Oval in Scott Street for the crucial clash with the Grasshoppers.
The Lauren Bowles-coached Demons have a 6-1 record and league best percentage of 209.
Colbinabbin is 6-1 and 160 per cent.
Only defeat for the Demons and the Grasshoppers this season was to reigning premier Elmore.
Both teams were in top form before last weekend’s general bye on the King’s Birthday holiday weekend.
White Hills won the round eight clash at Huntly by 17 goals.
The Grasshoppers marked a 70-38 win against Leitchville Gunbower at M.J. Morgan Oval in Colbinabbin.
The play of all mid-courters will be crucial to the chances of White Hills and Colbo on Saturday.
The Demons have a powerful attack, so a goal for the Jen McIntyre-coached Colbinabbin will be to limit scoring chances for the red and black, and capitalise on their own.
A big day for White Hills FNC on Saturday includes a family day in support of MND Round.
Among those taking the plunge as part of Big Freeze 9 are A-grade netball coach Lauren Bowles, Alyssa Cole and Molly Johnston.
Heathcote has regained its place in the five and will be determined to stay there.
The Saints are likely to be bolstered by the return of goaler Annalyse Carroll for this Saturday’s match against Huntly at Heathcote’s Barrack Reserve.
In round eight, Heathcote teamed superbly on North Bendigo’s court at Hibo Hotel Oval in Atkins Street to record a 49-35 victory.
After an extended break because it had the bye in round eight, Mount Pleasant returns to action on Lockington’s court.
The Carine Comer-coached Blues have a 4-3 record and need to win to keep the heat on the third-placed Colbinabbin.
Elmore is back at home to take on North Bendigo.
The red-hot Bloods scored 88 goals in their latest hit-out against Lockington Bamawm United, but just as importantly showed its defensive prowess by holding the Cats to a tally of 18 goals.
Jointly coached by Allira Holmes and Gabe Richards, Elmore has a skilful squad that includes Tahnee Cannan, Cayde Hayes and Abbey Hromenko.
The Shellie Davies-coached North Bendigo was bitterly disappointed with a 14-goal loss to Heathcote last round.
Defeat put the red, white and blue out of the top five.
It’s a tough two-week stretch for the Bulldogs who play at Elmore and then head to Toolleen to face Mount Pleasant when the second half of the season tips off.
Leitchville Gunbower has the bye.
Standings in the Heathcote DFNL A-grade netball competition:
Elmore 182 per cent, 28 points; White Hills 209, 24; Colbinabbin 160, 24; Mount Pleasant 88, 16; Heathcote 99, 12; North Bendigo 76, 12; Huntly 77, 4; Leitchville Gunbower 53, 4; Lockington Bamawm United 50, 4.