BL&G takes silver at Country Champs

Sonja Davey lines up her shot under pressure from the Port Lincoln defenders. PHOTO: Wayne Orsler

LIAM PHILLIPS
BAROSSA, Light & Gawler finished
as Senior B-grade runner-up in Netball
SA’s Country Championships held
over the weekend, going down to Port
Lincoln in Sunday’s grand final.
The decider was the culmination of 10
half-length games played across the two
days, with Port Lincoln getting the better
of the Barossa side in Saturday’s group
stage games as well.
Barossa, Light & Gawler coach, Willaston’s
Jess Earle, said it was a fantastic
weekend of high-quality netball, which
brought out the best in her talented group.
“Saturday was really about working
through our combinations and trying to
figure out who was best suited to which
positions,” she said.
“We won three of our five games on
Saturday, and then hit the ground running
on Sunday, winning all of our games until
the grand final against Port Lincoln.
“By that last game I think we just had
tired bodies on the court, and there were
some errors that crept into our game once
it got close and (Port Lincoln) turned up
a bit of unnecessary physical pressure.”
Six minutes into the final quarter the
game was tied at 21-21, before Port Lincoln
controlled the home stretch to win
it 30-24.
Earle said it was nearly impossible to
pick the best players in such a star-studded
line-up, saying there was nothing except
positivity all weekend.
“There was so much talent out on the
court and I think a lot of the girls really
appreciated the chance to play such high
level netball,” she said.
“Sonja Davey shot brilliantly all weekend,
and when Lottie Higgins slotted into
that role she shot really well too.
“Lottie’s only 19, and we had three
girls around that age from Tanunda who
had previously played in the under-17
Country Champs and they were all really
impressive.
“Rachel King played centre for us
and the way she drove the ball down the
court, and her speed, and delivery to the
goalies is amazing.
“Both Rachel and Sonja ended up being
named in the top-10 players for the
tournament so it was a really amazing effort
from them and well-deserved.”
While there was plenty of praise for
players who would usually be considered
opposition, including Kim Seelander
in goals and Tanunda’s Stacey Thom
in wing defence, Earle said she also saw
a new side of players she coaches every
week at Willaston.
“Taylor Krawczyk, Danica Earle and
Emma Hartnett worked together brilliantly
in defence – obviously I coach
Danica and Emma, and I was really impressed
to see Emma step up to that pressure,”
she said.
“There were a couple of games on
that Sunday when the stakes were rising
where I saw an Emma I haven’t seen yet,
and it goes to show that when you have
girls out there wanting the same things
and there’s drive around you, players
lift.”
Gawler & District was the only other
local side to make a podium, finishing
runner-up in under-13 division three.

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