With two rounds remaining in the championship round, Whangārei Premier netball resumed play on Friday night with all teams vying for a top-four position.
Whangaruru Prem 1 definitely had their game faces on as they earned a 51-49 win over Manawanui White.
Turnovers created by both teams made for some long passages of play as they settled into the game.
A great shooting display from goal attack Rowie Davis-Cooper, enabled an early 18-9 goal advantage for Whangaruru at the end of the first stanza.
Whangaruru stayed with their line up for the second quarter, but Manawanui's Caitlin Riedstra entered the game at goal defence. Here, she was a pest and made her presence felt for the remainder of the game.
A strong comeback from Manawanui saw them reduce the points deficit to four at the halfway mark.
Both teams made some changes at the break.
Right from the restart, there was fair contesting for every ball. However, Whangaruru's centre was handed a caution then warning against her for continual contact. With 30 seconds left to play in the third, she was eventually sent off for two minutes.
At that stage the scores were level at 38-all.
It was do or die for either team as the final quarter started. Manawanui built a five-goal advantage as Whangaruru continued playing with six players.
With the team fully restored, Whangaruru were able to fight back and close-in on the difference as basic errors crept into Manawanui's game.
With penalties mounting up for the circle defence, this allowed quick-smart play between Whangaruru shooters Sophie Tua and Davis-Cooper and eventually the win.
The following game between Fideliter Gold and Whangārei Girls High School was another close encounter as Fideliter come away eventual winners 48-46.
Evenly matched from start to finish, WGHS were able to be ahead by two at the end of the first break.
As the game progressed both teams' goal shooters, Kate Taylor (WGHS) and Taylar Riini (Fideliter), shot consistently. However, WGHS kept ahead at halftime by three.
Changes made by both teams at the break had little effect for the third.
Great defensive pressure from Fideliter goal defence Danielle Dephoff disrupted WGHS shooters in the last quarter as she got turnover ball to deny WGHS the win.
Fideliter Blue on the other hand had a comprehensive 83-34 win over Whangaruru Prem 2.