Celtic United and Wairarapa College set down markers that they are the teams to beat in Holmes Construction Wairarapa Premier One Netball with convincing wins in the first round of the top four over the weekend.
Celtic continued their unbeaten season, overrunning old foes Harcourts 60-37 in a one-sided clash, and two-time defending champions Waicol pulled away after a close first quarter to beat Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon 43-24.
The strong performance by the students allowed coach Keely Riwai-Couch to experiment with her lineup.
“I was able to make changes right through the game,” Riwai-Couch said, “I had [shooter] Maggie Shields off for the last quarter, and I mixed things up in the defensive circle, but it was a good team effort.”
Centre Jayla Brown stood out with a strong game in tricky conditions, with water on the court creating extra problems for the players.
“We had some strong efforts from her [Jayla] through the midcourt, and there was some great feeding into the circle by her, and we adjusted our game instead of just letting those passes go, just because of the conditions, and she gave some more appropriate passes that hit the shooters.”
Waicol face a tricky encounter against the experienced Harcourts in the 7.30pm game on Friday.
Riwai-Couch is reading little into their opponents’ uncharacteristic heavy loss to the in-form Celtic, saying she will wait to see who turns up for Harcourts before she settles on her starting lineup.
Victories on Friday night to Waicol and Celtic [over Carterton Maroon] would assure them the top two seedings for the semifinals.
In the bottom four, Opaki Vixens had a comfortable 44-28 win over Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Rebels.
The Vixens play St Matthew’s, and the Rebels take on Tuhirangi White in Saturday’s second round.