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Champs hit form at right time

Harcourts centre Katy Alsop surveys her options. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

NETBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Harcourts player-coach Geraldine “Hubba” Carroll is happy with how the three-time defending champions are tracking after the first round of games in the premier one championship.

The first five games of competition play counted for little, with points being scrapped at the completion, and the bottom team, St Matthew’s, relegated and replaced by the premier two top team, Marty Masters.

Harcourts finished top of the table after the first round, dropping only the one game to Wairarapa College 45-53.

Carroll said she used those five games to develop combinations with four new players – Gracie Donaldson, Tahlia Te Rito, Cameron Puhara, and Jemma Puhara – in the squad.

“That was our building opportunity, and because we had those new girls, who we are lucky to have, that’s all I focused on in the first round. Now, we’re into the championship game phase,” she said.

Harcourts kicked off the championship with a 60-49 win over Waicol, although Carroll said the score was no reflection of how the game went against the talented college side.

Harcourts’ next encounter is on Saturday against Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon with Carroll expecting a tough battle against the 2020 runners-up. Maroon started their campaign with a 47-24 defeat of Greytown Holmes Construction.

Carroll was impressed with what she has seen from the other teams and said the competition is even across them all.

However, Marty Masters had a tough introduction to the top grade, going down 36-61 to Celtic, but Carroll felt they showed plenty of spirit, and would only improve.

“I watched Martinborough. They’re new, and they looked like they were a bit shell-shocked when they played Celtic, but the level was another step up for them. Give them a couple of games, and they will probably on par with the rest of us.”

Marty Masters face another tough ask in their second game, against Waicol on Friday night.

Celtic will start warm favourites to beat Greytown in the other Friday night clash.

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