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Celtic and Waicol upset favourites

Rennie Hemara, GS, scored Celtic’s winning goal with the last act of the game. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

For the first time in 12 years Harcourts will be missing from the Netball Wairarapa Premier One Championship final. CHRIS COGDALE reviews Celtic’s and Wairarapa College’s semifinal victories.

NETBALL

CELTIC 51
HARCOURTS 50

Celtic goal shoot Rennie Hemara kept her cool to slot a last gasp penalty and send Celtic to their first final since 2017, and end Harcourts’ three-year reign as champions.

Even after the winning goal was signalled and the final whistle blown, there was a delay until the final result became official

“We on the bench knew that we had won because we’d been monitoring the goals, but it wasn’t officially announced until a good 30 seconds after the final whistle,” said an elated Celtic coach Dayle Clarkson.

“When it finally came out it was a big hurrah for us but because there were no spectators it was an eerie feeling.”

Celtic had the better of the first half in the tightly-fought encounter, taking a four-goal lead into the halftime break. The expected late fight back from Harcourts came, and the teams were goal for goal throughout the last quarter, but Clarkson said her team were prepared for the onslaught.

“We had the lead the entire game and they never had the lead, which is something unique in itself.

“We played an excellent game, and I could not fault any part of our performance at all, but then that’s the kind of game you have to play to outplay Harcourts.”

WAIRARAPA COLLEGE 44
CARTERTON MAROON 41

Sophie Cusack, GA, had an outstanding game for Waicol in their upset win over Carterton Maroon.

A tactical switch at the attacking end paid off for Wairarapa College in their outstanding victory over top qualifiers Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon.

Coach Keely Riwai-Couch swapped the roles of usual goal shoot Sophie Cusack and regular goal attack Taylor Riwai-Couch, a move which paid dividends.

“I was thinking outside the square. With Sophie, I found that all teams stuck two defenders on her so bringing her out of the circle, they had to find out where she was and I had Taylor drop into GS and she moves a bit more around there, so it wasn’t probably as easy for the defence to shut it down,” said Riwai-Couch.

“Our attack went really well, and our defence was good too. It was a very nice result.”

Riwai-Couch said the return of talented defender Savaia Sabutu, after struggling with injury for much of the season, had been a boost for the talented team.

“She had only been playing some quarters, so probably the bonus of lockdown is that she has come back stronger, and it was good to have her pretty much back to her norm.”

Carterton made the better start and held a one-goal lead after the first quarter, but Waicol took control of the game in the second quarter, and had a three-goal cushion at halftime, a lead they never relinquished.

“We finally pulled it all together at the right end of the season. The girls were stoked, because we’ve had some girls miss out on college tournaments over the past couple of years.

“At the end of the game I had tears in my eyes, which is quite normal because I’m a bit of a crier, but I was also speechless and that is not normal.”

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