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They want the trophy back


Carterton Maroon GA Abby Scott is under pressure from Harcourts GD Cameron Puhara and GK Sandy Gray.

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Wairarapa netball heavyweights Harcourts are determined to regain the trophy they have dominated this century,

For the first time since 2009, the 2021 premier one final did not feature Harcourts, with Wairarapa College going on to etch their name on the trophy, in a thrilling 53-52 victory over Celtic.

Prior to last year, Harcourts had won a remarkable 10 out of the previous 11 championships since 2010, and 15 titles since 2000.

The perennial champions have started the 2022 season focussed on returning to the top of the tree, and are on course, unbeaten after six rounds, with their latest win a strong performance in beating Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon 52-48 last Saturday.

Harcourts captain Katie Alsop was satisfied with her side’s effort against a quality Carterton outfit and was particularly impressed with the defensive duo of Cameron Puhara [GD] and Sandy Gray [GK] in restricting the Carterton pair of Abby Scott [GA] and Bailey Potangaroa [GS].

“Carterton have some pretty experienced players in their team, and you know they going to front up when you play them, but I felt our circle defence was really good,” said Alsop.

Although the score was close throughout, the four-goal margin surprised Alsop in the end.

“We turned over a lot of ball, but we didn’t convert on it as well as we should have, so we had a lot of possession, but the score didn’t reflect that, and we probably should have scored more off what we turned over.”

The season hasn’t been all plain sailing for Harcourts though, with new players taking time to settle, and injury and illness keeping several players, including the experienced Sarah Watson on the sidelines, but Alsop believes the team are on the right track.

“We’ve had probably more changes and different combinations on court than we’ve had for a long time because of a few injuries and people away and work and things like that.

“It’s been good that we’ve been able to adjust to that and the players have switched on really quick to different combinations, and just run with it.”

The championship is currently in a two-week hiatus for the school holidays, and although Alsop said the break is a good time for players to rest their niggling injuries, it is frustrating.

“The season has been quite stop-start because of the public holidays, and we’ve now got school holidays and that’s something everyone, not just us, has to adjust to, but it doesn’t always make it that easy to a flow on.

“You get on a bit of a roll and stop and then you get on a bit of a roll and stop, but it’s not too bad for us because we’ve got a couple of injuries, and a couple of weeks off won’t do any harm.”

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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