Hamilton defeat Manawatu to claim U19 title
Hamilton City’s greater experience shone through when they held out a determined Manawatu 36- 31 to win the final of the Netball NZ U19 championships in Wellington on Thursday.
With two WBOP Magic and three Beko Netball League players in their ranks, Hamilton were able to keep a slight edge over their opponents through most of the match.
The well-performed but unheralded Manawatu got to the final unbeaten and gave it their all to the end, threatening a comeback in the third quarter of a tight contest but just lacking Hamilton’s superior finishing.
After leading 11-9 at the first break, Hamilton delivered a strong second stanza to take a 20-14 lead into halftime before Manawatu took the honours in the third quarter. With Hamilton City leading 27-23 going down the home straight, they were able to keep Manawatu at arm’s length to reverse their four-goal loss to the same opponents in pool play.
``I’m pretty thrilled with the effort they put out there today,’’ delighted Hamilton coach Rebecca Gabel said afterwards.
``Manawatu were always going to be tough. I’m just really proud of my girls and the way they’ve come together this week. We’re a relatively new team and so to see them all come together in this way has been the real highlight.’’
With just three of her team playing in an age-group final previously, Gabel said her team could only improve from the experience of having played under constant pressure throughout the week.
Magic players, Sydney Fraser (centre) and Amorangi Malesala (shooter) were key figures in Hamilton’s attacking momentum while in-circle defender Hannah Ridling was also prominent in getting her hands on turnover ball.
There was no disgrace for the gallant and well-performed Manawatu team, who impressed all week with their never-say-die spirit and ability to knock over more fancied teams.
``I’m incredibly proud of the girls,’’ Manawatu coach John Atkins said. ``Over the whole four days, they’ve fought to stay in games, we’ve come from behind in some games and if it weren’t for a couple of turnovers here or there, this result could have gone the other way.
``We just wanted to come here and play the best netball that we could. We had no grand expectations, we knew we were in a tough pool with Hamilton and Auckland and that someone was going to miss out. And on this occasion, it was Auckland.’’
Denied the chance to defend their title after losing to Hamilton in the semi-finals, Wellington finished with a flourish to outclass Waitakere 39-21 and seal third spot
Final Day Results
|Nelson Russells Curtains & Blinds||45-44||Hawkes Bay|
|Pukekohe Kitchen Inspirations||28-31||North Otago|
|Pukekohe Kitchen Inspirations||22-30||Mainland Combined|
|Trust Waikato Hamilton City||36-31||Manawatu|