Sale falls short in semi-finals

SALE missed out on a place on the Eastern Regional State League netball grand finals.

Sale’s 17 and under side lost its semi-final to East Gippsland, while its main 15 and under team lost to Gippsland.

IN the 15 and under semi-finals at Sale on Sunday, Sale 1 lost a tight affair to Gippsland 31-26.

Sale goal shooter Layla Berry and Gippsland defender Shina Omifolaji had a tough contest, but Omifolaji’s outstanding vision and skill provided for some thrilling moments as she worked hard to force turnovers and take valuable intercepts.

While Sale managed to close the gap to two goals in the third quarter, it was unable to maintain Gippsland’s concentration, costing it a place in the grand final.

East Gippsland claimed the other place in the grand final with a 48-19 thrashing of Mid Gippsland.

East Gippsland’s goalers teamed superbly and finished off their chances to build a substantial margin for the majority of the match, while East’s defenders held strong.

The 15 and under grand final will be held at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex this Sunday from noon.

SALE’S 17 and under team was level with East Gippsland for the first quarter but its opponent emerged victorious, 41-32.

On Friday night at Churchill, Sale kept the match tight until half-time, after which East claimed a six-goal lead as goal attack Emmagyn Williams (27 goals from 33 shots) helped her team grab control and take a winning advantage into the final quarter.

East ramped up the pressure to force turnovers that would give it a nine-goal victory.

While Gippsland defeated Pakenham 61-42 in the other semi-final, Gippsland’s place in tonight’s grand final hinges on an appeal against its disqualification.

As Gippsland did not provide an accredited scorer for the match, the match was awarded to Pakenham.

Gippsland will appeal that decision.

The outcome of the appeal was not known at the time of publication.

The 17 and under grand final will be played on Friday night from 7pm at Latrobe Leisure Churchill.

MORWELL Navy will meet the undefeated Gippsland in the open division grand final.

Morwell Navy earned a shot at its first open title after upsetting Alberton in the semi-finals.

Alberton fired at both ends of the court to lead by two goals but Claire Allison kept Morwell Navy in the game, withstanding the relentless Alberton defence to shoot 29 goals from 33 attempts.

Morwell looked to its bench for changes and provided fresh legs in the centre court in a bid to turn the game around, managing just a one-goal lead going by half-time.

Alberton made Navy earn its place in the grand final but it was too late as the dual reigning champion and overall state champion bowed out, losing 46-41.

Gippsland had an astonishing win over Morwell Red.

Gippsland waited until the second quarter to put Morwell Red under the pump but did it emphatically, scoring 16 goals to six and piling on another 22 in the third quarter to lay the foundation for its 70-43 win.

Shooting pair Ramyer Gourley and Courtney Blair worked together without missing a beat, with Gourley scoring 61 goals.

The open grand final will be played from 8.30pm, also at Latrobe Leisure Churchill.

IN a change from the traditional Champions Challenge, this year the winners of both 17 and under and open divisions will be taking part.

The 17 and under premiers from Goulburn-North East, Central Highlands, Eastern and Western regions will be invited to attend the Champions Challenge on Sunday, April 19 at the State Netball and Hockey Centre. Teams will play in a round robin tournament with the two top teams to compete in the grand final.

The open premiers of the Central Highlands and Eastern regions will be invited to play against each other as a curtain raiser for the Trans Tasman Championship game between the Melbourne Vixens and Southern Steel at Hisense Arena on April 19.