Georgia Cullen missed only one shot. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

NETBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Wairarapa College produced strong second and third quarters to beat Celtic 48-40 in the first round of Premier One top four play on Friday.

Celtic held a narrow 13-12 lead after the first quarter.

From then it was all Waicol as they outscored Celtic 13-5 in the second quarter and 14-5 in the third stanza for a 39-23 lead.

Goal shoot Sophie Cusack’s and goal attack Georgia Cullen, who missed only one shot, had success rates above 90 per cent.

Waicol coach Melissa Cullen said the victory was down to a complete team effort.

“It was the whole team’s defence. We put pressure on Celtic ball and managed to shut down their shooters and attack.

“We were able to get intercepts and got good ball into the circle. Our shooters were spot on,” she said.

The win was Waicol’s second straight over one of the traditional powerhouses.

The students beat defending champions Harcourts 47-45 to previous weekend and Cullen said that had given the players a lot of confidence.

“It was fantastic to back up from a good solid game over Harcourts. Going into the top four, we knew it’s anyone’s game and that we deserved to be in here.”

Cullen predicted that any of the four teams can come out on top in a close competition.

“Who finishes where and who plays who in the semifinals is quite fascinating.

“In previous years, you wouldn’t want to finish fourth and play Harcourts, but any of the four teams can beat any of the others. It’s quite topsy-turvy.”

Harcourts beat Carterton Red 54-25 although the score was no indication of the drama that unfolded early in the game.

After a close start to the game when the teams traded goals, three serious injuries left Carterton without a wing defence for a significant period of the game.

Late in the first quarter they lost a player with a suspected Achilles tendon tear, followed by another with a serious knee injury and then a third with a twisted ankle.

Carterton Red coach Trudy Hullena said she hadn’t seen a run of injuries like it in her coaching career.

“We were playing with six for at least 10 minutes and that allowed Harcourts to get away on us.”

In the bottom four, Gladstone Heat won a tight tussle with Carterton Legends 38-34, and St Matthew’s won by default over Greytown Holmes Construction.