Katie Alsop was influential in Harcourts final victory. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
A powerful fourth quarter earned the Harcourts juggernaut their third consecutive championship and tenth in 11 years.
But the 43-37 victory did not come easy against a determined and polished Carterton Red, who were in front for much of the game.
Carterton led by as many as five goals in the first quarter and again in the second quarter and had a 23-20 advantage at halftime.
Harcourts clawed the lead back and went into the final period with the scores locked together at 30-30.
The teams traded early goals in the last period, but after Harcourts wing defence Kahu Brown forced a crucial turnover the defending champions surged ahead, scoring eight unanswered goals to build a 42-32 lead, which broke the back of a game Carterton.
Harcourts player-coach Geraldine Carroll said it was a matter of holding their nerve.
“I guess the game was tight all throughout, but you’ve just got to push through and hold fast and believe in your structures,” she said.
“In that last quarter, we just built pressure and we just got a lot of ball and scored.”
Victory was particularly sweet for Harcourts goal attack Wikitoria Davidson, who underwent an operation to remove gallstones during the week and was in her first season with the club’s premier one side.
“I had them before semis and I played last week and then I had my ERCP on Tuesday, so they went through my throat and pushed them out and I played today,” Davidson said.
“It was such a good game, tops to Carterton they were amazing, but we just kept our composure right to the end and that’s how we got it, slow and steady wins the race.”
Veteran centre Katie Alsop, who had a titanic battle with Carterton counterpart Abby Scott in the midcourt, enjoyed adding another championship to her long career with Harcourts.
“Finals are never easy, and that was down to guts and determination,” she said.
“We’ve been in the final for how many years and we’ve won it for so long and I think that everyone in the team knows that’s what is expected of us and everyone just has to step up to the plate and make it happen.”
Whether Carroll and Sarah Watson, who have been with the team since the early 2000s are back again in 2021 is unknown, but Alsop said she would definitely return.
“If I stopped, I don’t think I would start again,” the champion centre said.