Netball: Ominous start for sluggish Eastern

By Shane Hurndell

Poor shooting and soft turnovers contributed to Eastern's woeful start to the National Netball Championship at North Shore.

"A positive was the fact we made 49 attempts, which means we are getting the ball to the circle," Eastern head coach Jewels Falcon said after the 71-26 loss to North Harbour on Saturday. "However we only succeeded with 53 per cent of our attempts and that's something all of our shooters have to take responsibility for."

Her troops were up against it from the beginning and trailed 24-4 after the first quarter.

"It was always going to be a battle to hang on after that. We were up against a side coached by Yvonne Willering and Linda Vagana ... they had three New Zealand secondary schools representatives and some experienced campaigners in Julie Kelman-Poto, Brigette Tapene and Jessica Moulds."

Eastern were beaten 17-6 in the second quarter and produced their best quarter in the third when beaten 13-11. North Harbour won the fourth quarter 17-5. Woodford House and HHSOG Huias player Millie Ironside was the best of the Eastern shooters with three from five attempts.

Veteran Physique shooter Cheleme Smiler-Ah Kiong had a couple of long shots as the North Harbour defence did a top job in keeping Smiler-Ah Kiong well away from the net.

Falcon said goal keep Rhiarna Ferris and goal defence Briar Chalmers worked tirelessly. "They did some honest defensive work and then we would turn the ball over and Harbour would be shooting again. Rhiarna and Briar both play for Otane ... I tried to go with club combinations as much as possible as we only had one training session as a team.

"Things won't get any easier in the buildup to Sunday's game against Western in Pettigrew-Green Arena."

Ironside and the Hastings Girls' High School pair of Taylor Greening and Leykin Rowlands-Huirama will be away at the Lower North Island secondary schools tournament in Palmerston North this week and with the Wellington-based pair of Candis Cardie and Bianca Lloyd-Jones not arriving until the weekend, Saturday will be the only day Falcon can have a full team training.

With Amber Bellringer, Lauren Burgess and Selby-Rickit sisters, Te Huinga Reo and Miriama, Western could be even stronger than North Harbour.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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