A newly promoted team has put Whangarei's premier netball grade on notice with a spirited first-up performance.
The top- and bottom-ranked teams squared off at the weekend, and the promoted Fideliter 2 held Whangaruru to a draw at quarter and halftime.
Whangaruru pulled ahead by four goals by the end of the third quarter and eventually won 49-34.
Whangaruru's Liahona Hebden, Reanon Hetaraka Sadler and Jaime Lee Tito were strong on defence. Kea Randall at wing attack played a consistent game.
For Fideliter 2, Jo Davis Cooper and Ursula Buckingham combined well in the mid court. Goal defence Trina Harris Ruke disrupted the Whangaruru attacks.
Manawanui White were also put to task in the first half by a fired up Marist team hungry for a win. The Marist team started strong and led by four goals at the end of the first quarter. At halftime they were up by five.
However, by the third quarter Manawanui White were ahead by four goals and won the game 53-47.
Manawanui White players took time to settle into the match and committed basic mistakes. Goal defence Cherith Schragg hunted the ball and grabbed several intercepts and Jade Telfer added height to the defence. In the mid court Kelsey Power and Larissa Hona combined well.
Rhiannon Reti (goal shoot) and Grace Cooper (goal attack) settled things in the second half.
For Marist, Sue Ann Nesbit and Helen Francis exerted pressure and Jayne Southee and Kim Ruth provided good ball to the shooters. Tamea Ross, at goal attack, and Sherryn Schragg, at goal shoot, found good space.
In the final game, Fideliter 1 were too strong for the much younger WGHS 1 side. WGHS 1 improved in each quarter and by the second half they were more competitive, only losing each quarter by four goals.
The damage had been done in the first half though and Fideliter 1 triumphed 61-33.
For Fideliter 1, Rowena Davis Cooper at goal defence turned over ball as did Hayley Tipene at centre.
For WGHS 1 the whole bench was used so the young players (with an average age of 16 years) could get game time at this level. For a number, this was their first premier game.
Their standout player was Serai Murray Wihongi, on at wing attack in the second half.