Mainland remain unbeaten in Beko Netball League
Consistency will be an area Netball Mainland will look at despite notching up their second straight Beko Netball League victory.
They led from the first minute of play en route to beating the High Wire Trust Northern Comets 65-48 at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Sunday night.
But captain Mahara Feala said they would need to eliminate their “lulls” moving forward in the league after the Comets came at them strongly through the middle stages of the game.
“I think it’s just about trying to stay calm and make sure that we’re all supporting each other and have those strong drives through the middle,” she said.
Feala was pleased with the performance up front and the workload from shooters Caitlin Dowden and Ellie Bird.
“They got the rebounds even when it didn’t go in and then it was about just staying calm and feeding them good ball.”
Mainland started with plenty of confidence finding the towering figure of Bird with ease in the shooting circle. Wing attack Tiana Placid – whom was named player of the match – showed great vision in the opening spell and also played a hand on defence helping to stymie the flow of Comets ball through court.
The Comets scored the first goal of the match but from there the hosts netted the next five before a string of unforced errors saw the gap close to one.
Comets shooter Ashleigh Garner impressed in the first quarter under immense pressure from Mainland defender Kelera Nawai but the one-goal difference was as close as the visitors could get.
Mainland led 18-10 at the first break and despite a more assured Comets team returning to the court in the second – showing confidence in particular up front with their passing and accuracy – the buffer remained at seven goals.
Comets goal attack Kendra Falefitu was one of those to lift in the second spell and her match-up with Mainland defender Sophia Fenwick was one to watch.
Fenwick’s inclusion – the defender backing up from her performance in the ANZ Premiership – sparked more turnover ball for Mainland in the second half as the Comets struggled to make inroads on the scoreboard.
But Mainland was forced to take a more considered approach up front as Comets defenders lifted their game against Bird to get a number of intercepts and deflections through the middle stages of the match.
The fourth quarter however was all about Mainland as the hosts dominated the spell 21-11 to take maximum points.
They are joined at the top of the league ladder by Netball Central who also netted their second victory with a 61-34 win over Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) 61-34, while the Marvels beat South 52-46.