SALE began the defence of its Eastern Regional State League 17 and under netball title with an upset loss to Gippsland on Friday night.
Competition newcomer Gippsland wasn’t about to be dictated to as it throw everything at the title holder with persistence finally paying off with a 40-39 win. Sale’s Montana Holmes was named best-on-court.
In other 17 and under matches, Alberton was defeated by North Gippsland in a match that was up for grabs before poor decision making and frustrating errors from Alberton allowed North the win 42-38. Mid Gippsland easily accounting for the very young East Gippsland, 63-20.
IN the open division, newcomer Gippsland took the points 46-26 in an extremely physical match against a younger and developing North Gippsland side. Former North Gippsland team member, now with Gippsland, Rachael Shaw was named best-on-court.
East Gippsland managed to fight off a revitalised Alberton after a slow start and a break when it counted in the fourth quarter to win 38-31.
Mid Gippsland Green took on young newcomer Mid Gippsland White, who held its nerve the first quarter the more experienced Green side run away with the match, winning 52-29.
THE competition was officially opened on Friday night at Latrobe Leisure Churchill by Netball Victoria chief executive Michelle Playne who acknowledged the state selection of Montana Holmes into the 17 and under state team and Leongatha’s Megan Rosser selection into the 19 and under state team, which come about through this premier competition.
Melbourne Vixens and Australian Diamond player Bianca Chatfield and Johanna Curran joined Vixens assistant coach Eloise Southby-Halbish to conduct a clinic for around 40 enthusiastic young netballers. The elite players stayed on as teams prepared for their games sharing their knowledge and offering players some words of wisdom.
IN round two on Friday night, Churchill Indoor, one of three newcomers to the open division, will make its debut against East Gippsland. The players and coaching team made the most of their first round bye, taking the opportunity to watch their competitors from the sideline.
Gippsland should come up trumps against the younger Mid Gippsland White and Mid Gippsland Green should continue its winning ways against Alberton.
The game of the round in the 17 and under division will be between Gippsland and Mid Gippsland, while Sale will play Alberton.