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Storming second half not enough for WBOP

Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) will look to rectify a sluggish start which cost them a second straight win in their latest Beko Netball League outing.

A 12-goal half-time deficit was too much of a hurdle for the side as they went down 50-52 to Hellers Netball Mainland in a thrilling league match at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Sunday.

WBOP captain Emily Patterson believed her side came out with “a lot more intensity” after the main break and said the “slow start” would be need to be addressed.

“I think we definitely started a bit slow,” she said. “We weren’t as physical or forthcoming as we were in the second half.”

But WBOP will be pleased to take a point from the match after looking outclassed in the first 30 minutes.

Mainland made their intentions clear from the opening whistles weighting the ball well into tall shooter Ellie Bird.

They piled on plenty of defensive pressure and had little trouble converting but Mainland captain Cait Dowden said “maintaining our intensity” was something her side would have to work on as they blew their early lead.

“I think in that attacking third just the placement of the ball into Ellie Bird, it’s quite tempting to send in those big ones in but we’ve really got to nail it down, work to circle edge and get it in there,” she said.

Unforced errors were costly for WBOP in the second quarter as Mainland looked comfortable in all areas as the half-time whistles blew with the hosts leading 36-24.

It was however a different WBOP unit which appeared from the change rooms in the third quarter as the visitors contested every ball and found a new spark on attack.

The injection of young shooter Te Awa Gerrard-Nicholas also added a new dynamic into the circle as both she and Amorangi Malesala helped their side to claim the third spell 14-9 and leave the difference at seven goals going into the deciding quarter.

Patterson also returned to the court in the goal defence bib and kept Mainland play-maker Cait Dowden quiet for much of the third quarter.

The difference was just four goals with four minutes left on the clock and as WBOP maintained the defensive pressure they could see victory within their grasp.

But four crucial intercepts and two deflections from Mainland’s ANZ Premiership defender Kate Lloyd were pivotal in a thrilling final stanza, with the hosts holding on for the win.

Meanwhile, in other matches Netball Central kept their place at the top of the Beko Netball League points table with a 65-50 win over the Northern Marvels and Netball South notched a second straight win, beating the High Wire Trust Northern Comets 59-44.