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Beko Netball League standings shaken again

Heller’s Mainland climbed to the top of the Beko Netball League ladder courtesy of a narrow win and the efforts of their netballing neighbours.

Mainland held their nerve to beat a fast-finishing Northern Marvels 60-59 at Trafalgar Centre in Nelson on Sunday.

But it was the efforts of South, who are out of contention for the final, which has shaken up the Beko Netball League points table with just two weeks left in the regular season.

The southern side beat the table-topping Central, 52-46, at ASB Sports Centre in Wellington which changes the standings in the league, with Mainland left holding the top spot.

Captain Nicola Mackle said they had to fight hard in what was an ugly win having got a strong lead in the first half.

“It was probably closer than we wanted it to be but we’ll take the win,” she said. “I think we probably just lost a little confidence in each other – giving those balls that we were giving in the first half.”

Mainland led by 10 goals at the end of the first half but personnel changes in the third spell from both teams saw momentum shift with the visitors slashing the lead to five goals.

Mackle said they resorted to playing as individuals during the third quarter as the Marvels put them under immense pressure.

“At times like that we need to back ourselves because we’ve got some awesome players out there and so we need to let that ball go and play our game.”

For the second week in a row, Mainland goal attack Gemma Hazeldine was named player of the match for her performance with both accuracy in the shooting circle and her workload around the court.

Mainland opened up an early lead in the first spell and a faultless shooting performance saw them hold on to a 16-13 advantage at the break.

Marvels coach Ripeka Pirie made a change in the second quarter with ANZ Premiership shooter Tera-Maria Amani picking up the goal shooter bib, while circle defenders Ema Lees and Antonia Hei-Hei swapped roles.

But it was Mainland which continued to exert pressure at both ends of the court as they opened up a 10 goal halftime lead.

A strong defensive display from goal keeper Sophia Fenwick – who picked up eight deflections and four intercepts – alongside Lily Marshall who also got seven gains, gave the home side the edge in the second quarter.

Both teams went to the bench for the third quarter with Mainland making changes through the mid-court and the Marvels looking for something fresh up front through the injection of former Northern Mystics wing Nadia Loveday making her second appearance of the season.

Loveday, who is returning from injury, made an impact on attack with her quick release and ability to hit the circle edge.

Defensively the Marvels also picked up plenty of ball while a lift in shooting percentage saw the visitors slowly claw their way back into the match.

A string of four goals late in the fourth quarter gave the visitors another boost as they again closed the gap and an intercept from wing defence Tori Kolose with two minutes on the clock saw the lead slashed to two goals.

Kolose came close to grabbing another which would have levelled the scores, but Mainland held their nerve to see Jess Prosser land a key goal in the last minute of play.

Meanwhile, Waikato-BOP moved into second spot with a 66-50 win over the Northern Comets.

Results:

Mainland 60 (Jess Prosser 37/40, Gemma Hazeldine 23/26) beat Northern Marvels 59 (Ashleigh Garner 21/28, Marie Hansen 1/1, Tera-Maria Amani 37/38). Quarter scores: 16-13, 35-25, 47-42, 60-59.

Waikato-BOP 66 (Kelsey McPhee 53/59, Harley Smith 2/4, Amorangi Malesala 11/18) beat Northern Comets (Ivana Rowland 16/18, Filda Vui 29/34, Lahaina-Lee Upu-Toparea 5/7). Quarter scores: 20-13, 39-25, 53-39, 66-50.

South 52 (Isabella Masani 24/27, Georgia Heffernan 25/29) beat Central 46 (Jermaine Howard-Vallance 23/29, Saviour Tui 23/28). Quarter scores: 14-13, 26-28, 39-37, 52-46.