Manly Warringah Sapphires 46 d UTS St George Sparks 44
April 20, 2016
Round 1: Manly Warringah Sapphires 46 d UTS St George Sparks 44
The Manly Warringah Sapphires enjoyed a winning start to the inaugural Samsung Premier League with a tightly contested 46-44 victory over the UTS St George Sparks; a see-sawing contest which thrilled the large and vocal crowd in attendance at Netball Central.
The Sapphires came out firing on all cylinders, jumping to an early 5-1 advantage before the Sparks settled into the match and fought back to even the scoreboard at the first break. The second quarter was a carbon copy of the first, with the Sapphires appearing to have all the momentum and looked set to take control of the match as halftime quickly approached, getting out to a lead over the Sparks by as many as four goals.
The Sparks’ defensive duo of sisters Kara and Nicole Styles worked hard to keep their side in the game by creating a number of turnovers. Their efforts were rewarded by the Sparks’ attacking end which fought hard to trail the Sapphires, 22-23, at the main break.
Despite their opposition fightback, the Sapphires coaches maintained the confidence in their starting seven whilst the Sparks opted to use their bench. The fresh legs rejuvenated the Sparks who hit the front for the first time early in the third quarter, particularly led by some confident shooting from their GS Natalie Eldridge.
However the Sapphires showed their class and were able to stem the flow of goals against them. After steading back into the game plan which saw them control the first half, the Sapphires were able to get back to within one goal at the final break to set up a thrilling final 15 minutes.
An intense, see-sawing battle saw the lead change hands many times until the Sapphires were able to steady the ship. Their captain, Nicole Deegenaars, worked tirelessly across the court for the Sapphires, with goal keeper Keely Rodrigo particularly dynamic in the fourth quarter, capitalising on the pressure applied down the court by her teammates to set up their Round 1 win.
The Sparks will take confidence from their performance and will head into their next match against the Panthers, while the Sapphires will take on other opening round winner North Shore United in Round 2 next Wednesday, 27 April, at Netball Central.
Quarter by Quarter Scores
SAPPHIRES│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 23 (12) – Q3: 33 (10) – Q4: 46 (13)
SPARKS│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 22 (11)- Q3: 34 (12) – Q4: 44 (10)
SAPPHIRES: 46/59 @ 78%
G. Marshall: 28/35 @ 80%
L. Cantwell: 18/24 @ 75%
SPARKS: 44/55 @ 80%
N. Eldridge: 35/40 @ 88%
H. Pearce: 8/11 @ 73%
E. Turner: 0/1 @ 0%
S. MacGougan: 1/3 @ 33%
SAPPHIRES│: GS Georgia Marshall, GA Lauren Cantwell, WA Brooke Miller, C Nicole Deegenaars, WD Victoria Low, GD Eliza Long, GK Keely Rodrigo
SPARKS│ GS Natalie Eldridge, GA Holly Pearce, WA Claire O’Brien, C Belynda Loveday, WD Brooke Lawrence, GD Nicole Styles, GK Kara Styles