Hope Phillips in action for Harcourts against Gladstone earlier this season. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

NETBALL

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Harcourts and Carterton will be hoping for a repeat of last week’s results when they take to the court for this week’s Netball Wairarapa premier one semi-finals.

Harcourts beat Gladstone 44-40 last week, and the two teams will clash again at the Colombo Rd courts tonight [6pm].

The second semifinal will be at the same venue tomorrow [noon], where Carterton will be up against Celtic once again, having beaten them 49-40 last week.

Harcourts and Carterton would have to start their respective matches as favourites based on form and previous results this season, but there is not much between the teams and both underdogs will be hopeful of pulling off an upset.

Gladstone coach Josh Gubb said his team had been building steadily throughout the season.

“I grabbed this team late because I wasn’t going to coach this year, and it’s taken a while to get used to my systems and how things are going.

“I didn’t even know the players, but the team is a great bunch of girls and they have a lot of promise there.”

Gubb said there was not too much they could take from the closeness of last week’s match, as Harcourts had played some of their players out of position.

He indicated there were a few key aspects they would have to nail to have a chance of beating Harcourts.

“We have to control their shooting end, which is really, really strong.

“If we can control that and get a few key rebounds, it will keep us in the game.”

Celtic may be the defending champions, but they will need to reverse two previous losses to Carterton if they are to have a chance of defending their title in next week’s final.

Celtic captain Rennie Hemara said starting well would be their main focus.

“Going into the game [tomorrow], we need to make sure we start really well and carry it through the game.

“Carterton have very skilful players on attack who can move the ball very fast, so once it’s down there it’s very hard to stop.

“Every year each team is stepping up more and more, and the competition gets harder which makes it more enjoyable and more competitive.”

Wairarapa College and St Matthew’s Collegiate will meet tonight [6pm] at Colombo Rd, in what will be the final premier one match of the season for both teams.