Netball: Timid Bay take hope from spirited finish

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay 26 North Harbour Two 29

Oh the pain... it was written all over the faces of the Hawke's Bay players after day one of the national under-17 netball championships in Hastings yesterday.

The Julie Williams-coached Hawke's Bay side lost 29-26 to North Harbour Two, one of two pool opponents Williams and her troops had targeted as a must-win game in their quest for a mid-table finish at the 33-team event which began in ideal weather conditions at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park.

A shocking third quarter which saw Hawke's Bay outscored 8-4 proved to be the hosts downfall. To their credit, Hawke's Bay showed character by winning the fourth quarter 10-6 but the damage had been done.

"That was tough but that fourth quarter will give us confidence as we look ahead to tomorrow. We will need the hard yards tomorrow ... we will have to lift our game," Hawke's Bay co-captain and goal defence Olivia Tilyard said.

A Central Sports club player and Central Hawke's Bay College Year 12 student Tilyard, 17, is in her second season as a Bay under-17 rep. A 2012 New Zealand Secondary Schools team trialist, Tilyard, is eyeing an ANZ Championship team berth in the future as well as an off-court career as a sport psychologist.

Her combination with goal keep Olivia Macaulay reflected the Hawke's Bay team's performance. There were patches when they were dominant and classy but far too often they were too timid and allowed the Harbour players too much freedom under the net.

Like the Bay's attacking circle players, Tilyard's co-captain and goal attack Maddi Crawford-Pakoti, goal shoot Kelsey McPhee and substitute goal attack Reegan Brown, Tilyard and Macaulay needed to be more aggressive when hunting for rebounds.

"We've got to target both games tomorrow now," Hawke's Bay manager Margo Kerins said referring to today's opponents Taranaki (9am) and Eastern Waikato (2.25pm).

"What we did in that last quarter is what we've got to do for 40 minutes. That defensive effort has to be there for the whole game," Kerins added.

North Harbour Two led 7-6 after the first quarter and 14-10 at halftime. Bay goal shoot Kelsey McPhee sunk five of her eight attempts in the first quarter and two of her four in the second, while Crawford-Pakoti sunk her only attempt in the first quarter and four of her five in the second.

Harbour centre Jen Gale impressed with her option taking, feeding and physicality in the first half. Gale and wing attack Mariah Hebden's quality service was huge assistance to goal attack Kathryn Penrose and Elise Hilliam. Penrose sunk all four of her attempts in the first quarter.

Her third-quarter replacement Deli Franklin succeeded with all seven of her attempts during this period and all five attempts in the fourth quarter. At one stage during the third quarter North Harbour Two led by 10 goals.

Taranaki proved how tough they are going to be for the Bay when opening their campaign with a 41-15 win against Eastern-Waikato yesterday. Defending champions Manawatu drew 30-all with Mangere-Otahuhu.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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