National Netball League
4 weeks ago

Waikato-BOP edge closer to victory in Synergy Hair Netball League

Nailing the critical moments will be key for Waikato-Bay of Plenty if they are to get over the line after netting a second draw of their Synergy Hair Netball League season.

They came from behind to level the scores 59-59 with the Comets at Pulman Arena in Auckland on Saturday and captain Ariana Cable-Dixon said they were edging closer to a win.

“It was those critical moments, but we are getting better at them. I was pleased with that game but still it’s gutting.

“We’re getting better each game, it’s just still that 60-minute performance, we had a few lulls here, some mistakes so we need to clean those up.”

It was the second draw of the season for Waikato-BOP while Comets co-captain Abbie Ledger said her team had talked about scoring from turnovers from their defence, treasuring possession and staying patience was something they needed to

“I think it was just those finishing touches. I’m happy with that performance but just tidying up on little things will help.”

The Comets had the opportunity to steal the win with a penalty awarded after the final whistles, but goal attack Marie Hansen was unable to land the goal.

Both teams came to play and with only a handful of goals separating the sides, the coaches will be pleased with their charges ability to absorb such pressure early in the season.

The target of Jaelin Tulikaki, who has started the season in fine form, allowed the hosts to score quickly, but the Comets also showed patience on attack as they worked the ball into the shooting circle.

Waikato-BOP, who have had a win and a loss in the opening two rounds, were also happy to play the ball around with goal attack Ashley Maylor driving hard into the circle and teaming well with their tall shooter Kate Taylor.

Defender Reeghan de Bono, at wing defence, sparked a change in momentum with a clean turnover as the visitors went on a four-goal run to claim the lead in a high-quality start to the match.

The arm-wrestle continued late into the spell with the Comets snatching a 17-15 lead to go into the first break.

Neither team could stamp their dominance early in the second spell with scores locked again before the Comets captilised on a couple of missed shots at goal from Waikato-BOP.

The tussle between Comets centre Holly Mather and Waikato-BOP captain Ariana Cable-Dixon was one to watch through the middle as both teams settled into their rhythm.

A flurry of personnel changes to both sides did little to the scoreboard with the Comets leading 32-31 heading into halftime.

Errors marred the opening minutes of the third quarter as teams looked to stamp their authority on the match.

The work from the Comets’ defensive unit impressed throughout the game but Waikato-BOP matched it with their patience up front, waiting for the space to open up for Taylor in the shooting circle.

Waikato-BOP were made to work that little bit harder when goal keeper Charlice Bryce became the first player in the Synergy Hair Netball League to be suspended for a late challenge.

With nothing separating the teams, both coaches went to their benches and Crystal Maro, who made her debut in the ANZ Premiership for the Stars last week, moving into shooter to replace Tulikaki with Marie Hansen picking up the goal attack bib, while Halaevalu Tautaiolepo came on to goal defence for Waikato-BOP.

It was the Comets who made the most of their changes as they again edged ahead 46-43 heading into the last quarter.

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