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Bubbly Waicol in for testing time

Whakaaria Rimene will start the final at WA for Harcourts. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

NETBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

The Premier One final today has all the makings of a classic showdown between youth and experience.

On one side, Wairarapa College bring exuberance to the match.

On the other, Harcourts are seeking their ninth title in 10 seasons.

Waicol will be gunning for their first premier title since 2005 when they beat St Matthew’s 44-41.

They made the finals in 2010 and 2011 but lost 42-45 and 28-57 respectively – to Harcourts.

Some of the Harcourts’ players are in line for their ninth championship in 10 years. Celtic broke the stranglehold in 2017.

Harcourts’ coach Geraldine Carroll said she had coached the team for all but the two championship wins in 2010 and 2011.

She says Katie Alsop, Sarah Watson, and Hope Phillips would be playing to win their ninth championship.

Honours are even between the teams this season. Waicol won the first meeting 47-45, and Harcourts 44-41 in the second round.

Carroll is expecting another close game today.

“I’m super impressed with Waicol. They deserve to be in the final and it should be a great game, and good to watch.”

Harcourts had an unusually slow start to the season but were hitting form at the right time, Carroll said.

“I’m blessed to be in the final. Here’s hoping that we can do it. I’m really happy. We’ve had a good build-up.”

Georgia Cullen has been in good form for Waicol.

Waicol coach Melissa Cullen said her side was confident, but not over-confident.

“Things are working well.

“The girls are having fun, and they just need to go and do what they need to and hopefully it all comes together.”

“Harcourts are a very good team and the girls have learned a lot from them and taken on some of their skills.

“It should be a very good game.”

The key to victory for Waicol could be to restrict the dominance of the Harcourts’ midcourt pairing of Alsop and Watson.

The dynamic duo are adept in providing a quick link between the defensive and attacking ends and will swoop on any loose or sloppy passes.

Waicol have impressed with their calmness under pressure and style of play.

Whether that’s enough against the experience and skill of Harcourts at the crunch time of the season is a question only they can answer.

The Premier One Final starts at 1.30pm and is the culmination of a day of finals at the Trust House Wairarapa Netball Centre at Colombo Road.

Probable starting line-ups

Harcourts: GS Te Rina Boyce, GA Hope Phillips, WA Whakaaria Rimene, C Katy Alsop, WD Sarah Watson, GD Shyanne Aporo, GK Eleina Mitchell.

Wairarapa College: GS Sophie Cusack, GA Georgia Cullen, WA Aja Walker, C Leana Malcolm, WD Destiny Mila, GD Camryn Potangaroa, GK Molly Winchester.

Coggie’s prediction:

A close final but the experience of Harcourts to come through at the end.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018 – Harcourts  [beat Carterton Red 46-43].

2017 – Celtic  [beat Harcourts 38-37].

2016 – Harcourts  [beat Carterton Red 43-37].

2015 – Harcourts [beat Celtic 45-31].

2014 – Harcourts [beat Pioneer Blue 45-31].

2013 – Harcourts [beat Celtic 43-30].

2012 – Harcourts [beat Makoura College 54-52].

2011 – Harcourts [beat Wairarapa College 57-28].

2010 – Harcourts [beat Wairarapa College 45-42].

2009 – Celtic [beat Kuranui College 51-48].

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