A poor second quarter in yesterday's first game cost Hawke's Bay a top-10 finish at the national under-17 netball tournament in Pukekohe.
The Lee-Anne Taylor-coached Hawke's Bay side lost 37-35 to Eastern Bay of Plenty in its first outing after losing the second quarter 9-6. The Bay bounced back with a 49-34 win against North Harbour Two in the playoff for 11th.
As the score suggests the Eastern Bay of Plenty game was a tight affair. The circle defence pairing of Bree White and Valentine Kahukura worked hard to confuse the space and created multiple intercepts and wing defence Jaimee Tapine drove the ball strongly through the court.
Hawkes Bay trailed 10-8 after the first quarter and 19-14 at halftime after Eastern Bay of Plenty dominated the second quarter. This five-point margin was still there at the start of the final quarter.
Hawkes Bay put in a massive effort on defence and converted on attack through Imke Kitchin and Janayah Lewis in the attacking circle. However they ran out of time against a team which boxed above their weight at the tournament and went on to finish 10th, a mighty effort considering their player base is much smaller than Hawke's Bay's.
Against North Harbour Two, Hawke's Bay were hungry to finish the week on a high. They started strongly finding the circle edge easily and shooters Kitchin and Lewis who converted to establish a 12-5 lead during the first quarter. Strong driving by wing attack Asher Grapes and centre Summer-Rose Taylor to the circle edge and shooter to shooter feeding from Lewis to Kitchin saw the Bay push ahead 26-16 at halftime.
Substitute wing attack Maddison Kaye combined well with Grapes to make scoring opportunities as the defence of White, Kahukura and Tapine continued to pick up intercepts and deflections. The final quarter saw Hawkes Bay push on with captain Hinehea Keil and vice captain Myer Crawford-Pakoti working tirelessly to feed their shooters who continued to score regularly.
"We have seen a growth in our team across the tournament and consistency in their play. We are incredibly proud of the continued effort of the players across the tournament and have provided a platform to build on for next year," coach Taylor said.
No Hawke's Bay players made the tournament team.
Defending champions Wellington Black A, who beat Hawke's Bay earlier in the week and had retired Silver Fern Irene van Dyk as assistant coach, beat Auckland One 34-25 in the final.
Van Dyk attributed the victory to a special harmony in the team.
"We didn't have a full squad until the week before the tournament, with two players in the Beko [Netball] League, and others fulfilling commitments to other sports. But they all worked so hard to bring it together, which showed the harmony in this amazing team."