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Celtic ready for Waicol firepower

NETBALL

Celtic United player-coach Elleshia Clarkson knows her players will need to step up to another level when they come up against defending champions Wairarapa College A at 6.00 tonight.

The two teams are unbeaten, and although they are guaranteed places in the top four, both will be looking for a psychological edge for the more important games ahead.

Clarkson is rapt with how her team has improved and the versatility the players have shown in their unbeaten run of six games.

“The most pleasing is not the score but the quality of netball we are playing,” Clarkson said.

“We play a different lineup each game, and our entire squad is extremely versatile. It doesn’t matter who we have on the court; the quality stays the same.”

Clarkson singled out new players Kaia Mita, Aja Walker, Tahlia Reiri, Nikita Herily and Te Rina Boyce for bringing new flare and ideas to the team as a big reason for the successful start to the Holmes Construction Premier One Championship.

Despite the confidence gained from their unbeaten run, Clarkson is not thinking too far ahead.

“We are big believers in not celebrating too early, we are used to being underdogs, so it is a new position for us.

“We know the other teams are training and becoming fitter, so we have to continue to develop and start consolidating our combinations now.”

Celtic will be without three key players for tonight’s game but is confident they have the depth to topple the two-time defending champions, who bring speed, agility, height and fitness to the court.

“We know the game against Waicol is always a hard match, so we anticipate a fast and high-scoring game.”

Clarkson believes the winning of the game will be points scored off ‘bonus balls’, any ball off the opposition’s centre pass.

“Our defensive line is great at turning over the ball; however, the shooters for Waicol are very tall and accurate.”

The game is the first time the teams have met since last year’s championship final, won by 10 points by Waicol.

In tonight’s second game, Opaki Vixens take on Harcourts.

Tomorrow, St Matthew’s play Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Rebels at midday, and Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon tackle Tuhirangi White.

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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