A strong all-court game was the catalyst to Celtic United’s impressive 46-31 win over defending champions Wairarapa College in the feature Holmes Construction Wairarapa Premier One match on Friday night.
The clash at the Trust House Wairarapa Netball Centre between the last two seasons’ finalists was expected to be close, but apart from an early two-goal lead to the students, Celtic dominated and pulled away for a comfortable victory, much to the surprise of player-coach Elleshia Clarkson.
“The game was really consistent. We maintained possession and composure for the whole four quarters, which is really good for us; usually, in the third quarter, we seem to fade,” Clarkson said.
“The margin was a surprise, and that is purely because Waicol were putting up a really good fight, and it felt as though the score was a lot closer than 15.”
Clarkson felt there were some stand-out efforts throughout the court in a performance that signals Celtic as possibly the team to beat.
“Aja Walker and Te Rina Boyce were accurate and composed. Waicol defenders Sovaia [Sabutu] and Ella [Forster] are outstanding players, so we are really proud of how our shooters stood up to the challenge.
“The mid-courters were relentless and made it really hard for Waicol to get the ball into their shooters, and our defence, Perri Williams and Charlize Carson Butler, really put the pressure on Waicol’s tall shooters and were able to win a lot of ball.”
Although rapt to be almost assured of top place after the first round with only Opaki Vixens to play on Friday night, Clarkson said the players are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
“We know the top four teams are tight, so we will remain humble and continue to develop and better our game.”
In other games, Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon are assured of finishing in the top four after their 72-46 trouncing of Tuhirangi White, Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Rebels scored their first, holding out St Matthew’s 39-36 in a tight battle, and Harcourts won by default over Opaki Vixens.
Little is resting on the last games in the first round to be played on Friday night, with the top and bottom four already decided.
The competitions will resume on Friday, July 21, after the school holiday break.
Teams in the top and bottom sections will each play a full round of games to determine seedings for the semifinals, with the finals scheduled for August 18-19.
Celtic United 24; Wairarapa College A 20; Harcourts 18; Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Maroon 16; Opaki Vixens 8; St Matthew’s 5; Tuhirangi White, Jo Kelly and Co Carterton Rebels 4.