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Celtic wary of wounded Harcourts

Bailey Peterson, GA, puts up a shot in Celtic’s first-round match with Harcourts. PHOTO/FILE

NETBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Celtic could face the full force of a wounded Harcourts in tonight’s early premier one game at the Trust House Wairarapa Netball Centre.

After two rounds, Celtic lead on points differential from Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon on eight points, with Wairarapa College on four, and three-time defending champions Harcourts on two.

Last week, Harcourts lost to Carterton by one goal, but that was changed to a loss by default after they had played an unregistered player and were subsequently deducted four points, leaving the defending champions in fourth place.

Celtic coach Dayle Clarkson expects to face up a fired up Harcourts with valuable points on the line with three rounds to play before the semifinals.

“Harcourts had a couple of close ones this season already, and I’m going to put the pressure back on them and say they’re going to have to sort themselves out because we’ll be coming guns-a-blazing,” she said

“We’re not going in thinking we’re just going to have a good game — we’re going in there hard because we need one of those top spots for ourselves.”

Clarkson is happy with how Celtic have progressed despite dominating the two winless teams Marty Masters and Greytown Holmes Construction in the first two rounds.

“We know we’ve had the easier end of the draw, and we’ve only played Martinborough and Greytown, so this is the business end now.

“We’ve got some settled combinations now and we’ve brought some new blood into the team and they’re doing a really good job.”

Celtic are missing influential midcourt player Elleshia Clarkson, who is out with study commitments, however, they will have Kata Ngatai back after she missed the last three weeks because she was stuck in Melbourne when that city went into lockdown because of covid-19.

Harcourts comfortably won the previous clash with Celtic 56-41 in the first round in June.

In tonight’s second game Carterton Maroon play Wairarapa College, and Clarkson predicted Carterton would have the edge with their experienced players such as Abby Scott and Evie Langlands.

“Abby at centre is a quality thinking player and is a team player, so she knows how to work to her team’s advantage.”

Clarkson said Waicol are nuggety and will never give up but are likely to find Carterton too tough.

The winless Marty Masters and Greytown meet in tomorrow morning’s game, and Clarkson expected a close battle.

“I was impressed with Martinborough when we played them, and I know they’ve lost one of their defenders with injury, and that will have an impact. But they have some really good shooters, and if they rotate those players well, they’re going to convert a lot of their ball.”

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